Japan’s embattled Prime Minister Naoto Kan ordered the Hamaoka Nuclear Plant temporarily to cease operation. Kan has grown overly concerned that another powerful earthquake could set off yet a second nuclear crisis in his country.
“More than anything, I have the safety and security of the Japanese people in mind,” said Kan at a press conference.
Hamaoka is located more than 100 miles to the southwest of Tokyo. The plant is located on the Japanese coast in an area that is a magnet for seismic activity. Government experts told Kan that the area is ripe for powerful earthquake to strike over the next 30 years.
Chubu Electric Power, operators of the Hamaoka plant decommissioned two of its reactors in 2009. Deciding against upgrading them to new building standards because of the expense.
Those reactors went on line in the 1970′s, which is the same time the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant started to generate power. Fukushima was heavily damaged during the tsunami and earthquake that struck Japan’s other coastline in March.
“I have asked Chubu Electric to halt all of its reactors at Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant,” said Kan, who has come under increasing pressure to resign for his mishandling of the disaster at Fukushima. ”This is the result of considering the tremendous repercussions a major accident at Hamaoka would have on the entire Japanese society.”
Environmental groups lauded Kan’s announcement.
Japan has more than 50 operating reactors and environmentalists want Kan to pull the plug on all of them.
Kan told Chubu Electric Power Company it needs to make sea walls stronger before a restart would be authorized.
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