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Japanese nuclear power plant to restart without a crucial off-site emergency center

safety-symbol1flag-japanSendai nuclear plant set to restart without off-site emergency center July 07, 2014 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN  by Toshio Kawada and Chikako Kawahara. The Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture could restart two reactors in autumn without a crucial emergency facility in place to deal with a possible nuclear accident and evacuations of host communities.

The Sendai plant, operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co., is expected to be the first to resume operations among all plants that have applied for safety screenings by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The Cabinet Office in September 2012 instructed all prefectures hosting nuclear power plants to ensure that off-site emergency centers be equipped with ventilation and other systems to prevent radiation contamination and be located between 5 and 30 kilometers from the nuclear plant.

It also mandated host prefectures to designate multiple backup facilities in case the functions of the off-site centers are crippled by a disaster, which is what occurred during the Fukushima nuclear disaster that started in March 2011.

The deadline for completion of the emergency off-site centers is September 2015.

Kagoshima prefectural government officials said construction of the off-site emergency center for the Sendai plant has lagged behind schedule due to delays in discussions with the central government…….

the Nuclear Regulation Authority is set to compile a draft of the safety screening results for the Sendai plant in Satsuma-Sendai as early as July 9. If the plant clears the NRA’s safety screening process, its two reactors will be restarted in autumn at the earliest.

Off-site emergency centers are supposed to function as the bases of operations for officials from the central government, local governments and utilities to combat a nuclear crisis and coordinate evacuations of residents…….

The government’s Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations has called for the prompt construction of off-site emergency centers.

But renovations and relocations of the emergency facilities are also behind schedule around Japan.

In addition to the Fukushima plant, off-site centers need to be relocated from the 5-km radius of four other nuclear power plants, including Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture.

An official of Ehime Prefecture said if an accident at the Ikata plant cripples the existing off-site center before September 2015, the front-line headquarters will be “relocated to a safe location like in the Fukushima crisis” in a stop-gap measure. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201407070029

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July 7, 2014 - Posted by | Japan, safety

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