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Three aging nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture operated by Kansai Electric Power were given final approval for a two-decade extension Wednesday, becoming Japan’s first reactors more than 40 years old to clear all hurdles for an extended run, Eric Johnston reports.

No such luck for Tokyo Electric Power, aka Tepco, which has been effectively banned from restarting its huge Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant due to safety holes that weren’t fixed for months. The message from the nuclear regulator is clear, writes Osamu Tsukimori: Utilities need to fix safety problems sharpish or face severe consequences.

[In Japanese] 'Hokusai would be worried' tweet fallout — Chinese spokesman criticized by Japan government | FNN PRIME ONLINE
[In Japanese] ‘Hokusai would be concerned’ tweet fallout — Chinese spokesman criticized by Japan government | FNN PRIME ONLINE

Yoshimitsu Kobayashi, who was appointed Tepco chief Wednesday, will also have to contend with fallout from the planned release of 1.2 million tons of tritium-laced water from the Fukushima No. 1 plant into the Pacific. No wonder the chairman’s seat at Tepco had been empty for nine months.

While South Korean nuclear experts on Monday dismissed worries about the effect of the release on Korean waters, a Chinese government spokesman the same day criticized the plan by posting a satirical image to Twitter of an orange-suited figure dumping goo into the sea.

The picture was a riff on a work by ukiyo-e master Katsushika Hokusai. Needless to say, Japan was not amused.

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)