The Nuclear Regulation Authority has finalized the new safety requirements for operators of nuclear reactors that are planning to apply for the re-activation of the plants, after they were forced to go offline due to fears of another accident like that at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011. The new regulations are to take effect by July 8 this year.
The NRA has been in several rounds of discussions since October 2012 when they started to draft the regulations, but they admit that the application of the rules is the more crucial part of their job. NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said that the system they have created should be acceptable by international standards, but the real value of that system will be seen as they start the screening process for the 48 nuclear reactors that are currently offline. The NRA is expecting that as early as July, four major utilities – Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Kansai Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. – will be applying for safety screening of 12 reactors at six plants.
The new requirements will require utilities to put in place specific countermeasures against possible serious incidents like reactor core meltdowns and in the event of a huge tsunami. They will also need to put filtered venting systems in their reactors to reduce radioactive substances when they need to release gas and steam to prevent damage to the containment vessels. They also need to set aside an emergency control room that can remotely guard and operate the reactors in case there was a terrorist attack or a natural disaster. Another crucial assessment they would need to make is whether there are active geological faults beneath the nuclear reactors. The deadline for applying the new safety regulations is on July 18, but the utilities are asking for an earlier implementation so they can restart the reactors as soon as possible.
[ via Kyodo ]
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