Japan PM orders shutdown of Hamaoka nuclear plant

Chubu Electric Power Co. said it would shut down five reactors at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in central Japan and build a 40-foot seawall around the plant, according to Forbes. The seawall is expected to take two years to build.

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan demanded Chubu Electric on May 6 that they halt operations at the plant due to worries a strong earthquake could cause another nuclear crisis. 

Reuters reports Kan, who has been under fire for his response to a nuclear crisis at another plant triggered by the March 11 quake and tsunami, added the government would try to prevent the halt of the Hamaoka nuclear reactors from causing power supply problems.
 
Companies served by two quake-affected utilities in Tokyo and the north have already been asked to curb electricity usage this summer when demand peaks. The shutdown at Hamaoka raises the risk of power disruptions in the Chubu region, home to Toyota and many other major manufacturers.
 
Kan said he made the decision "out of concerns for public safety," given an 87 per cent probability forecast by government experts that an earthquake with a magnitude 8.0 would hit the area served by Chubu Electric within the next 30 years.
 
"If there were a major accident at Hamaoka nuclear plant, it would have an enormous impact on the entire Japanese society," Kan told a televised news conference.
 
The 3617 MW Hamaoka plant accounts for about 7 per cent of Japan's combined nuclear power generating capacity. It is located about 200 km (120 miles) southwest of Tokyo and sits near an active earthquake zone.
 
Chubu Electric's President Akihisa Mizuno said in a statement that the firm will "promptly consider" the request. Kyodo news agency, citing a Chubu source, reported that the company would comply with the government's decision.
 

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