• Kyodo News

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The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency approved a new set of safety regulations Monday for a nuclear power plant in Shimane Prefecture where numerous inspection failures were discovered earlier this year.

The step sets the stage for reactivating two reactors at the plant nearly three months after the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry issued a stern warning to Chugoku Electric Power Co. and ordered the utility to improve its safety rules to prevent a recurrence of the inspection problems.

The new guidelines lay out inspection and maintenance processes in more detail while clarifying who is responsible for each process, and cite a plan to form a third-party oversight committee to monitor the quality of future inspections.

Chugoku Electric suspended the plant’s No. 1 reactor for further inspections after disclosing in late March that improper checks had been conducted at about 120 locations.

It also examined the No. 2 reactor, which had been powered down for a regular inspection.

The power supplier submitted a report in early June to the central and local governments admitting it had neglected to perform regular inspections or replace components at a total of 511 locations in the two reactors.

Chugoku Electric has yet to decide when it will restart the reactors, saying it needs to receive the nod first from local residents.

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