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Japan regulator says closely monitoring four nuclear power plants after earthquakes

18 April 2016

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said it was monitoring the situation closely at four nuclear power stations after the series of earthquakes on April 18 that killed more than 40 people and caused significant infrastructure damage in the south of the country. It also said there was no need to shut down the country's only operating nuclear station at Sendai on the southwestern island of Kyushu.

Stock image
Stock image

The NRA called a special meeting of its commissioners to monitor the situation at the four plants: Sendai, Genkai, Ikata and Shimane.

The two reactors at Sendai are the only operational ones in Japan. All the rest have been closed since the Fukushima disaster of 2011 which was caused by an earthquake and tsunami.

The NRA said there were no safety issues at Sendai, which is around 120 kilometres from the epicentre of the earthquakes near Kumamoto. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga confirmed that there were no abnormalities at any of the nuclear facilities in the area, the Japan Times reported.

Genkai is also on Kyushu, about 100 kilometres from the epicentre, Ikata is on the island of Shikoku about 160 kilometres away, while Shimane is more distant on the southern edge of the main island of Honshu.

The Takahama plant restarted two reactors in January, but one was shut down three days later due to technical issues and the other in March after the district court in Shiga prefecture issued an injunction to halt operations, specifically citing earthquake risk to the plant and the concerns of local residents.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has campaigned to reopen the country’s nuclear facilities but faces widespread public opposition. There is acute sensitivity over nuclear power in Japan following the Fukushima disaster.

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