IAEA examines Japan’s quake-hit nuclear plant

By Xinhua

Tokyo : A team of UN nuclear inspectors Monday began checking and assessing a nuclear power plant in Japan’s Niigata region, which was damaged by a strong earthquake last month.

Support TwoCircles

The six-member International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team will examine whether the seven reactors of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station shut down safely when the magnitude 6.8 quake rocked the area July 16, according to Kyodo News.

The IAEA team is also likely to analyse low-level leaks of radioactive material into the air and water from the plant, Kyodo said.

Japan’s central and local government officials hoped that the assessment would help dispel safety concerns over the nuclear plant heightened after the quake, which killed eleven people and injured over a thousand.

Late last month, Japan requested the UN watchdog to come and inspect the quake-hit nuclear plant.

The team, led by Philippe Jamet, director of the Nuclear Installation Safety Division of the Vienna-based UN nuclear watchdog, plans to conduct a four-day assessment before returning to Tokyo Friday for talks with Japan’s nuclear safety officials.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, the world’s largest one in terms of output capacity, has been closed indefinitely since the quake caused the radioactivity leaks and other malfunctions.

These incidents have added to public concerns over the safety of nuclear power plants in Japan. Japan’s 55 reactors supply about 30 percent of its electricity.