Japan’s Sendai nuclear power plant received preliminary approval from the Nuclear Regulation Authority to reopen two of its reactors, which are to be the first to resume operations after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, the Irish Independent reports.
“Previously, safety inspections were merely design-based, but this time we focused on how to prevent severe accidents,” said the Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shiuchi Tanaka, as quoted by the Irish Independent.
Before the final approval, the nuclear plant must still undergo a 30-day waiting period for public comment until August 15.
According to the 418-page report submitted to the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the Sendai plant reactors could withstand tsunami waves up to 15meters high.
All of Japan’s 48 undamaged nuclear reactors are currently temporarily closed, undergoing checks and necessary repairs after the Fukushima accident.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly said it is necessary to open at least some of the reactors promptly, as the prolonged shutdown is severely impeding the country’s economy.
The Sendai nuclear power plant is located on Kyushu Island southwest of Tokyo, and is owned and operated by Kyushu Electric Power.
On March 11, 2011, the Fukushima nuclear power plant was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami that caused a partial meltdown of three of the plant’s nuclear reactors. The incident was the world’s worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.
Global consequences of Japanese quake >>
The Japanese government published a plan to stop contaminated water from flowing into the sea; however, it is not working as well as expected, with about 300 tons of radioactive water leaking out per day.