Central Japan nuclear plant to temporarily close-A A +A
Monday, May 9, 2011
TOKYO — The operator of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in central Japan agreed Monday to the government's request to suspend operations at the facility while it addresses safety concerns.
Chubu Electric Power Co. convened a special board meeting to decide whether to accept Prime Minister Naoto Kan's request that it shut the plant's three reactors amid concerns that the plant sits in an area where experts say a major earthquake could strike within 30 years.
The government reached its conclusion after evaluating the country's 54 reactors for quake and tsunami vulnerability after the March 11 disasters that damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in northeast Japan.
The facility is about 125 miles (200 kilometers) west of Tokyo and about 79,800 people live within a 6-mile (10-kilometer) radius.
"We understand that the prime minister's request is based on increased concerns over nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant accident," Chubu Electric President Akihisa Mizuno said at a news conference.
Nuclear energy provides more than one-third of Japan's electricity, and shutting the Hamaoka plant is likely to exacerbate power shortages expected this summer.
The three reactors account for more than 10 percent of Chubu's power supply. The Hamaoka plant is a key power provider to central Japan, including nearby Aichi, home of Toyota Motor Corp. (AP)