Japanese nuclear power set to revive as new regulations proposed

By Diarmaid Williams, International Digital Editor, Power Engineering International

The Japanese regulator for nuclear power has drafted a new edition of rules designed to protect nuclear power plants from natural disasters, as occurred at Fukushima, as well as terrorist attacks.

New safety measures will be mandatory under the proposed standards by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the new government safety agency created last September, and the rules will be officially finalized for release in July of this year.

Prior to the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, utilities could decide themselves whether to take steps against the possibility of a major disaster, based on the assumption that such disasters were extremely unlikely.

NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka referred to the new rules as "the beginning of real [nuclear] regulation in Japan," the Financial Times reports.

The rules cover such areas as back-up control room locations, mobile back-up generators, plant worker safety, reinforced plant structures capable of withstanding the impact of aircraft, ventilation and evacuation procedures.

The country's nuclear power plant operators are expected to apply to restart idled reactors once NRA finalizes the rules.

This article originally appeared in Power Engineering International magazine. It was republished with permission.

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