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Reactor operators accelerate anti-tsunami defenses Asahi Shimbun

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry called for three steps: deployment of firefighting vehicles and mobile power sources to cool reactors and storage pools holding spent fuel rods; establishment of procedures to respond to an emergency; and implementation of emergency drills based on such procedures.

Earlier, TEPCO submitted to NISA an interim report on revised safety measures for the Fukushima No. 1 plant. Although the utility was instructed to take into account a massive tsunami, which had hit the northeastern region at intervals of 450 years to 800 years, at a gathering of experts in 2009, it failed to finalize the report.

While utilities are actively crafting anti-tsunami steps, their focus is limited to deployment of mobile power sources and adding watertight features to buildings. They are not at present looking at radical redesigns or measures. As a result, local governments hosting nuclear plants appear far from reassured by the ministry's instruction.

"Those safety precautions came too late," said a Niigata prefectural official dealing with nuclear power stations. The official also raised doubts about the ministry's call for the deployment of power-source vehicles, calling it a stopgap measure.

Chubu Electric has been unable to restart the No. 3 reactor at its Hamaoka nuclear plant, which has been idle for checks since November. The operator secured emergency power vehicles before the central government issued the instruction. It also plans to build a breakwater more than 12 meters high and locate emergency generators upland from the plant. The company also held emergency drills Tuesday to prepare for resuming nuclear power generation.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 10:12:17 PM EST

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