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The Nuclear Regulation Authority has turned down a request from power companies to extend the deadlines for installing facilities in nuclear power plants to ensure their safety against terrorism attacks, as required under the revamped plant safety standards introduced in the wake of the March 2011 meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holding’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The decision is expected to force the power companies to halt the operation of several reactors, since they anticipate missing the deadlines for the completion of the counterterrorism facilities by at least a few years. The NRA is right to insist that the power companies comply with the safety requirement under its standards. The power companies must expedite their efforts to build the mandatory facilities as promptly as possible.

The post-Fukushima safety standards introduced in 2013 mandate that power companies build facilities on the premises of their nuclear plants that allow remote control of reactor cooling systems to make sure they can continue to operate and avert a meltdown in the event of a terrorist attack, such as a large aircraft being crashed into a plant. To be safe from attacks on the plant itself, such a facility needs to be built at a distance — at least 100 meters from the plant — and be equipped with multiple power-supply sources to maintain functions over a long period. It also must be robust enough to withstand earthquakes.

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