Japan watchdog: to set new rules for reactor restarts

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 19, 2012 4:43 AM
Japan watchdog: to set new rules for reactor restarts

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's new nuclear regulator plans to set new standards for allowing the restart of reactors kept closed in the wake of the Fukushima radiation crisis, its chairman said on Wednesday.

Stress tests to check to ability of reactors to withstand disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami that wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi plant are only temporary, Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the newly created Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), said in a briefing after its first meeting.

The new authority replaces two regulatory bodies, both criticized for cosy ties with the power industry, to help restore public trust in nuclear power, shattered by Fukushima.

Cabinet ministers endorsed a new energy plan earlier on Wednesday to turn away from nuclear power after last year's quake, which triggered reactor meltdowns and radiation leaks at Fukushima that forced some 160,000 people to leave their homes and caused widespread contamination.

(Reporting by Risa Maeda; Editing by Michael Watson)