JAPAN | Nuclear agency releases stress test details

Posted on July 15, 2011


JAPAN | NHK | 15 July 2011

Japan’s nuclear agency has drawn up methods for stress-testing the country’s nuclear power plants, but has yet to release a timetable for checking those facilities already idled for inspection.

The 2-stage tests involve computer simulations to gauge a reactor’s resistance to earthquakes, tsunamis, and loss of power and cooling capacity.

The first-stage tests will apply to reactors halted for regular checkups. The secondary tests are for all reactors and involve simulations for an earthquake accompanied by tsunami.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says it will ask utilities to report the results of the secondary tests this year, but does not refer to the deadline for the primary tests. This leaves the timing for restarting halted reactors unclear.

A nuclear agency official says that the agency’s only role will be to check whether the tests are conducted properly.

The minister in charge of the nuclear crisis, Goshi Hosono, says politicians should not meddle in the work of the agency, or that of the other watchdog body, the Nuclear Safety Commission.

Hosono said the government will decide on restarting reactors when results of the primary tests are available.

The nuclear commission has approved the agency’s proposed tests, but asked that explanations of the process be clarified for the general public.

The agency plans to submit a revised version of its test plans next week.

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