Japan orders shutdown of Hamaoka nuke plant
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Last Updated: Saturday, May 07, 2011, 00:35
Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday ordered the shutdown of an ageing nuclear plant near here due to safety concerns as the atomic unit is located close to dangerous tectonic faultline.

"As prime minister, I have ordered, through trade minister (Banri) Kaieda, that Chubu Electric Power Co. halt operations of all the reactors at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant," Kan said at a televised press conference.

He said he has asked the company operating the unit in central Japan to halt operations of all the three active reactors at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant, due to the risk of earthquakes, national broadcaster NHK reported.

The Japanese prime minister announced the decision, citing the need to better secure the plant against earthquakes and tsunami in the wake of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

"The relevant authorities, including the science ministry, have shown that the possibility of a magnitude-8.0 earthquake hitting the area of the Hamaoka plant within the next 30 years is 87 per cent," the premier said.

The plant is located in Tokai region southwest of Tokyo where the Hamaoka plant is located. It is only 200 kilometres from the capital and falls in earthquake prone zone.

Nearly 30,000 people were killed or missing in earthquake and tsunami that hit north east Japan on March 11.

"This is a decision made for the safety of the people when I consider the special conditions of the Hamaoka plant," Kan said, adding: "I made the decision myself as prime minister."

Kan had asked the plant operator, Chubu Electric Power Company, to halt reactors No.4 and No.5, and not to restart reactor No.3, which is now offline for regular inspections.

The Hamaoka plant in Shizuoka Prefecture has 5 reactors. Reactors No.1 and 2 are permanently shut down for decommissioning.

Kan said the government made the decision after "taking into account the enormous impact a serious accident at the Hamaoka nuclear plant would have on the Japanese society as a whole", the Kyodo news reported.

"It is necessary to steadfastly implement measures on a middle- and long-term basis, including construction of sea walls which can fully withstand an anticipated Tokai earthquake," he said.


First Published: Saturday, May 07, 2011, 00:35

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