Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Japan will close

Japanese power company Chubu Electric Power announced Monday, May 9, halting its Hamaoka nuclear power plant, located in the center of the archipelago, 200 km southwest of Tokyo. Experts estimate there are 87% chance that an earthquake of magnitude 8 struck the region Hamaoka over the next thirty years.

"We decided to suspend operations of reactors 4 and 5 and to push the restart of Unit 3 of Hamaoka nuclear power plant," said President of the operator, Akihisa Mizuno. Unit 3 of the plant to five reactors is currently stopped for checks, and units 1 and 2 have already been closed. The private operator, which produces and distributes power in the center of the archipelago, followed a request from the Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, who had called him Friday to stop the plant.

Mr Mizuno said he regarded this request as "very serious", even if the plant meets para-seismic Japanese. However, the recent nuclear accident at the plant in Fukushima showed that additional provisions were sometimes required, especially against the risk of a tsunami exceeding expectations.

"It is necessary to introduce measures in the medium and long term, particularly the construction of protective walls facing the sea, able to resist" a giant tsunami, "said Khan. Japan is facing the worst crisis since the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in 1986. Damaged by a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami that occurred on March 11, the plant in Fukushima, north-east of the archipelago, emits radiation leaks since then.

The latest information from Fukushima show slight improvements, according to the operator TEPCO. The power company said it planned to implement anti-radiation barriers to protect radiation workers installing a new cooling system, some progress in building one of the reactors. "This is the first step in preparing the establishment of a cooling system," said TEPCO.

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