Japan: Idled Nuclear Plants to Resume Operation Only After Passing ‘Stress Test’

Posted July 11th, 2011 at 9:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Japanese officials said Monday the country’s idled nuclear plants will be allowed to resume operations only after passing new two-stage “stress tests” designed to evaluate their resilience to major catastrophes.

The officials said the full safety assessment is part of government efforts to restore public confidence in atomic energy after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that led to a meltdown of three of the Fukushima nuclear plant’s six reactors. The plant is still leaking radiation.

Authorities said there will be no deadline for the safety tests conducted primarily by the Nuclear Safety Commission, but they cautioned the test results could lead to closing down reactors presently in operation.

Currently, 35 of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors are out of commission, mostly due to maintenance or safety concerns.