• Kyodo

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Japanese chemical maker Nippon Shokubai Co. is considering restarting its closed plant for water-absorbing resin in the United States as the explosion at its plant in western Japan last month is causing supply shortages, sources said Monday.

The company will decide in November whether to restart the plant in Tennessee with an annual resin production capacity of 60,000 tons to help make up for lost output at the factory in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, after reviewing expected costs in restoring the operation at the U.S. site, they said. The Tennessee factory stopped making the resin, super absorbent polymer, in June as the company transferred production to a new plant in Texas.

Nippon Shokubai already plans to begin operation of part of a new resin-making facility with a 90,000-ton capacity being constructed in Indonesia earlier than initially scheduled, considering commencing production of 30,000 tons annually in March.

The explosion on Sept. 29 killed one firefighter and injured 36 others at the Himeji plant.

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