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Strict safety measures would mean Japan’s nukes are uneconomic

nuke-earthquakeflag-japanIs it safe? Ruling party pushes nuclear village agenda BY JEFF KINGSTON  JAPAN TIMES, 26 May 13,  “………the NRA has signaled its intention to not approve restarting a reactor at the Tsuruga plant in Fukui, and there are several other candidates for closure; Tepco’s Kashiwazaki plant with six reactors is sited near an active fault line as proven in the 2007 earthquake there, but the utility’s business plan depends on restarting this facility. There are some tough calls ahead.

There has also been no conclusion declared as to whether or not seismic damage compromised cooling-system pipes at the Fukushima plant in the interval before the tsunami hit. This is an important issue because if the earthquake caused the meltdowns, all Japan’s reactors would require extensive safety upgrades that would further undermine their financial viability. In any event, The Economist magazine has concluded that nuclear power is simply not economically feasible.
The NRA is set to adopt stricter safety regulations in July, but the key will be the implementation and monitoring of compliance. Problematically, there are only nine inspectors overseeing the 3,000 workers engaged in decontamination and decommissioning efforts at Fukushima, a bungled operation that has been left to the discretion of Tepco.

The utility decided against bringing in outside experts and failed to anticipate the problem of what to do with massive volumes of radioactive waste water that are accumulating at the plant. The improvised responses have proved inadequate, while the touted “solution” involves dumping the toxic water into the ocean. The Tokyo-based New York Times reporter Martin Fackler concludes that Tepco is “lurching from one problem to the next without a coherent strategy … a cautionary tale about the continued dangers of leaving decisions about nuclear safety to industry insiders” (NYT 4/29/2013).

Despite this and other red flags on nuclear safety, the political pressures on the NRA to resume business as usual are intensifying……. .

May 27, 2013 - Posted by | Japan, safety

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