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IAEA inspectors to arrive in Japan Sunday for quake-hit NPP check

TOKYO, August 2 (RIA Novosti) - Inspectors from the United Nations nuclear watchdog will arrive in Japan Sunday to inspect a nuclear facility damaged in a fierce earthquake in July, Japan's Kyodo news agency said Thursday.

A 6.8-magnitude quake that severely hit the Niigata prefecture July 16 killed at least 10 people and completely destroyed about a thousand buildings, seriously damaging at least a further 9,000.

The quake also caused a number of problems at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, 135 miles northwest of Tokyo, which has been shut down due to confirmed radiation leaks and future safety concerns.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors will begin a five-day inspection Monday at the world's largest NPP in terms of output, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), to determine whether it is safe.

According to the latest information, the plant suffered damage at some 1,300 separate points, including a crack in the plant's foundation and in equipment, raising general questions regarding the safety of nuclear power plants in the earthquake-prone nation, and prompting a government order forbidding the plant from restarting until appropriate checks are conducted.

TEPCO reported earlier that about 1,200 liters (315 gallons) of radioactive water had escaped from a reactor containment building. The information has had a negative effect in terms of tourism and undermined confidence in the local food industry.

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