‘No Quick Restart’ for Japan’s Biggest Nuclear Plant

From Today Online

TOKYO – Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) sees no imminent resumption of operations at the world’s biggest nuclear plant, shut down after last year’s Fukushima disaster, further raising its costs as it spends more on fossil fuels to generate electricity.

A wall to protect the 8,212-megawatt Kashiwazaki-Kariwa station’s seven reactors against tsunamis will not be finished until June next year, said deputy site manager Shiro Arai.

“It is too premature to talk about when reactor restarts will happen,” Mr Arai told Reuters in an interview at the plant in Niigata prefecture on Japan’s north-west coast.

An earthquake and tsunami on March 11 last year wrecked the company’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, on the north-east coast, causing widespread radiation contamination.

All of Japan’s nuclear plants were shut down after the accident – the world’s worst since 1986 – and public fear about nuclear safety has made it hard to persuade the authorities to agree to approve the restart of plants.

Prospects also appear dim for any quick restarts as safety standards, to be drawn up by a new nuclear watchdog, will probably not be issued until the middle of next year.

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