National

NRA to issue nuclear plant info every day amid quake concerns

Kyodo

The Nuclear Regulation Authority said Tuesday it will begin providing information every day on the safety of four nuclear plants located around the region hit by the series of earthquakes that started last week.

The nuclear watchdog will update information on the condition of the Sendai, Genkai, Ikata and Shimane nuclear plants and radiation levels around them at 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day to address public concerns.

More than 40 people have been killed and over 1,000 injured since the first major quake hit Kumamoto Prefecture on Thursday.

The only two commercial reactors currently operating in Japan are at the Sendai complex in Kagoshima Prefecture. The facility is operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co.

Until now, the NRA has not provided such information to the public unless an earthquake measuring at least lower 5 on the Japanese intensity scale of 7 is registered in the location of a nuclear plant, even when a strong earthquake occurs in a neighboring area.

When the quake hit Kumamoto on Thursday night, the NRA did not provide any information about the safety of the four plants until Friday morning. The slow response prompted the government to instruct the NRA to improve its information disclosure.

Under the new rules, when an earthquake measuring lower 5 or higher is recorded in Kyushu, the NRA will also provide information immediately with data about the nuclear plants.

Kyushu Electric’s Genkai power station is located in Saga Prefecture, northwestern Kyushu, while Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane plant is in Honshu, northeast of Kumamoto.

Shikoku Electric Power Co. is aiming to restart a reactor at the Ikata complex in Ehime Prefecture, east of Kumamoto in Shikoku, in late July.