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Plans for safety

Quake-proof buildings yet to be set up at 9 nuclear plants in Japan



TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Quake-proof emergency response buildings are yet to be set up at nine out of 17 nuclear power plants in Japan, reflecting the lack of progress in utilities' safety measures even after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis, a survey by Kyodo News showed Wednesday.

The nine include Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Oi, Mihama and Takahama plants in Fukui Prefecture. The utility covering the western Japan area including Osaka said that until the completion of the quake-proof buildings, it will use emergency response rooms located under existing buildings.

The utility plans to set up the buildings for the Oi plant's Nos. 3 and 4 reactors by the end of March 2016 and at the Mihama and Takahama plants by the end of March 2017.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. has not even devised detailed plans for emergency response buildings at its Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture and its Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Elsewhere, the buildings are expected to be completed between March 2015 and March 2017 at Hokkaido Electric Power Co.'s Tomari plant in Hokkaido, Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s Higashidori plant in Aomori Prefecture and Chugoku Electric Power Co.'s Shimane plant.

The emergency response building at Hokuriku Electric Power Co.'s Shika plant in Ishikawa Prefecture is expected to be completed by the end of March next year.

The utilities decided to build quake-resistant buildings after a powerful earthquake off the coast of Niigata Prefecture in 2007 damaged the administrative building at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata and put it out of commission.

The buildings, equipped with electricity generators and video-conference rooms, are being designed to withstand earthquakes with a seismic intensity of 7, the highest on the Japanese scale. They are also designed to shield against radiation.

The one at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is playing a major role in the handling of the disaster. Without the buildings, workers could be exposed to high levels of radiation in the event of accidents at the nuclear plants.

Following the 2007 Niigata earthquake, quake-proof buildings were set up at TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi, Fukushima Daini and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plants, Tohoku Electric's Onagawa plant in Miyagi Prefecture, Chubu Electric Power Co.'s Hamaoka plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, Shikoku Electric's Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture, and Japan Atomic Power Co.'s Tokai No. 2 plant in Ibaraki Prefecture and Tsuruga plant in Fukui Prefecture

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