Japan to Begin Restarting Idled Nuclear Plants, Leader Says
Japan to Begin Restarting Idled Nuclear Plants, Leader Says: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/world/asia/japan-to-begin-restarting-idled-nuclear-plants.html?_r=0
" Japan will begin restarting its idled nuclear plants once new
safety guidelines are in place later this year, Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe said Thursday, moving to ensure a stable energy supply despite
public safety concerns after the Fukushima disaster. In a speech
to Parliament, Mr. Abe pledged to restart nuclear plants that pass the
tougher guidelines, which are expected to be adopted by a newly created
independent watchdog agency, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, as early
as July. However, he did not specify when any of the reactors might
resume operation. News reports have suggested that it might take months
or even years to make the expensive upgrades needed to meet the new
safety standards. All of Japan’s 50 operable nuclear reactors were
shut down following the March 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima
Daiichi plant, which spewed radiation across northern Japan after a huge
earthquake and tsunami knocked out vital cooling systems. Two were
later restarted as an emergency measure to avert power shortages in the
heavily populated region that includes the cities of Osaka and Kyoto.
Responding to public safety concerns, leaders from the previous
Democratic Party government had vowed to slowly phase out nuclear power
by the 2030s in favor of cleaner alternatives like solar and wind power.
However, Mr. Abe, who took power after his Liberal Democratic Party won
national elections in December, has vowed to shelve the planned
phaseout, saying that Japan needs stable and cheap electricity from
nuclear power to compete economically. "
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