P Tokyo: Japan said on Monday that its nuclear
reactor "stress tests" will be carried out in two stages,
prioritising dozens that are now idled, but gave no timeline
for when the assessments will start.
The centre-left government last week announced the
tests, modelled on similar checks in the European Union, in
the aftermath of Japan`s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis, the
world`s worst since Chernobyl 25 years ago.
The government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan issued a
paper on the "stress tests" which said that the idled reactors
will be tested, and there will also be more sweeping safety
tests of currently running reactors.
"The government will introduce a safety review based
on new rules and procedures in addition to the conventional
ones," Kan`s top spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio
Edano, told a press conference.
"To achieve more confidence about safety, the
government will implement the additional checks as an
assessment and for assurance so that we can make a judgement
on restarting idled reactors."
Edano said two nuclear industry watchdog bodies -- the
Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) and the Nuclear
Safety Commission of Japan -- will play a major role in
carrying out the tests.
"This is all technical procedure, not a decision to be
made politically," Edano said.
"Technical experts of NISA will draft a test plan and
the commission, another group of experts who are independent,
will decide if it is feasible."
Turkmen leader sacks top general after blast
Ashgabat: The strongman leader of
Turkmenistan has fired his deputy defence minister for failing
to prevent ammunitions dump blast that officials said killed
15 people, a state report said on Monday.
The reclusive Central Asian Republic’s leader
Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov also demoted his defence minister
from the rank of major general to colonel for safety
violations, the official Neitralny Turkmenistan daily said.
The Turkmen government on Sunday for the first time
admitted to fatalities from mystery blasts on Thursday, but
dismissed claims from opposition leaders living in exile that
some 200 people had died.
State news agencies attributed the explosions, which
occurred in a town about 20 kilometres (15 miles) outside the
capital Ashgabat, to a fireworks depot fire that spread to a
nearby munitions dump.
On the day after the blasts, Berdymukhamedov invited
exiled opposition leaders to take part in February`s
presidential elections and sent his government on a 10-day
One opposition leader said from Austria that he feared
returning to Turkmenistan, adding that some 600 political
prisoners remained in the ex-Soviet country`s jails.