October 23, 2014
Nuclear watch : Working to Prove Safety
Working to Prove Safety
A nuclear power plant operator has launched a campaign to convince the public that it's ready to restart its reactors. The facility has been offline, as the Nuclear Regulation Authority checks whether it can withstand a severe accident. The operator has opened its doors to the world to showcase its new safety measures. NHK WORLD's Kurando Tago reports.
Diplomats from various countries got a firsthand look on Wednesday at TEPCO's nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture, on the coast of the Sea of Japan.
The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant has 7 reactors.
During a tour, the group looked at the main anti-earthquake building that'll serve as a command center in case of an emergency. They also viewed power vehicles, water pumps and flood barriers that can withstand 15-meter tsunamis.
Many had questions about the plant's safety. They wanted to know more about the specifications of the equipment to be used in a disaster.
"It's hard for me to make any judgment on this. I can only appreciate to gain access to see by my own."
Vitor Diniz / Brazilian Embassy official
"I was quite impressed by the reactors, turbine buildings, anti- tsunami, and anti-seismic measures. I was also impressed with the firefighting systems at the facility."
Alexander Khokhev / Russian Embassy official
Japan has 48 nuclear reactors and all are currently offline. So far, the Nuclear Regulation Authority has received applications to re-start 20 of them.
Last September TEPCO applied for the NRA's screening process to restart 2 reactors at this plant.
TEPCO's business has been deteriorating since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. A senior official says the company is staking its fate on the restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant. The company hopes to do so by stressing the plant's safety.
"We organized today's event in the hope of letting people around the world know what types of measures we have taken at the nuclear power plant that we hope to restart. We want people to feel reassured."
Katsuhiko Hayashi / TEPCO official
Plant operators in Japan still need to satisfy all mandatory government regulations. They include a re-examination of the faults that run under the facilities.
The operators are doing all they can to pass the regulations.
They're working hard to improve safety measures. They hope to win back public trust by communicating their progress to the world.