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Japan’s new nuclear safety agency dumps the previous hastily made “stress tests”

New nuclear watchdog to dump reactor stress tests Kyodo Japan’s new nuclear watchdog plans to disregard the stress tests used by its predecessor for the reactor reactivation process because it
plans to create fresh criteria for the task, Nuclear Regulation Authority chief Shunichi Tanaka said Monday.

“We will not use ‘stress tests’ as our judgment criteria,” Tanaka said in an interview,
referring to the two-stage safety examination that the government slapped together to push through reactor restarts in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in March last year, fearing summer power outages.

Utilities seeking to restart reactors have already submitted the results of their first-phase stress tests to the NRA’s predecessor, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency. NISA was to check the results.

Of the nation’s 50 viable commercial reactors, results on 30 have been submitted. In July, Kansai Electric Power Co.’s two reactors at the Oi power plant in Fukui Prefecture became the first to be reactivated since the crisis.

But Tanaka’s remarks mean the utilities will have to go back to square one to restart their reactors.

Tanaka emphasized that he has “no intention” to decide on whether the stress test results so far submitted are proper.

The NRA, launched earlier this month as part of efforts to improve regulation in light of the Fukushima crisis, plans to formulate new safety standards within 10 months.


September 25, 2012 - Posted by | Japan, safety

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