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Ohi stress tests - A step to restart nuke plants

March 19, 2012

Evaluation on Ohi stress test results imminent



The Nuclear Safety Commission says it may release its evaluation of the stress-test results on 2 nuclear reactors at a nuclear power plant in central Japan by the end of the week.

Commission Chairman Haruki Madarame told reporters on Monday that the commission's first-ever decision on stress-test results could be out before the week's end.

The government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency earlier approved the results of the first-stage stress tests on the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Ohi plant in Fukui Prefecture, conducted by its operator, the Kansai Electric Power Company.

The commission's panel, which is verifying the agency's evaluation of the test results, is compiling a report after listening to experts.

Verifying the results is a required procedure for restarting any nuclear reactor that has been shut down for a regular inspection.

Madarame said that in other countries, stress tests are conducted on reactors regardless of whether they are to be reactivated or not.

He emphasized that the first-stage stress test alone will not ensure a plant's safety, saying comprehensive safety checks must be conducted.

On the basis of the commission's report, the government will make its final decision on whether to approve restarting the reactors.

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