Japan to Reactivate Nuclear Plants
By Martin Fackler
Japan will begin restarting its idled nuclear plants once new safety guidelines are in place later this year, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said yesterday, moving to ensure a stable energy supply despite public-safety concerns after the Fukushima disaster.
In a speech to parliament, Abe pledged to restart nuclear plants that pass the tougher guidelines, which are expected to be adopted by a newly created independent watchdog agency, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, as early as July. However, he did not specify when any of the reactors might resume operation. News reports have suggested that it might take months or even years to make the expensive upgrades needed to meet the new safety standards.
All of Japan’s 50 operable nuclear reactors were shut down following the March 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which spewed radiation across northern Japan after a huge earthquake and tsunami knocked out vital cooling systems.
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