Japan asks nuclear agency to set up outpost in Fukushima
Jan 23, 2012, 2:43 GMT
Tokyo - Japan asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to open a local office near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in the north-east of the country, local media reported Monday.
'We are calling on IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano for the international agency's constant presence' in Fukushima prefecture, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba told locals in a speech on Sunday, Jiji Press reported.
A team of IAEA experts arrived in Tokyo Monday and held talks with Japanese government officials on stress tests on suspended nuclear reactors in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
The 10 experts will examine utility stress tests and offer advice on improvement, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.
The team will visit reactors 3 and 4 at Oi Nuclear Power Station run by Kansai Electric Power Co in central Japan for two days, the agency said.
The agency endorsed Wednesday the positive stress test results for the two suspended nuclear reactors. The decision was the first since the government announced in July that safety assessments on reactors across the country would be conducted in two stages.
Anti-nuclear activists say the government and Kansai Electric want to restart the two reactors immediately.
Only five of the nation's 54 nuclear reactors are in service and all of them are scheduled to be halted for servicing by the end of April.
Japan's utilities have been unable to reactivate their suspended reactors amid growing public concern about atomic power in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
The plant was struck by a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami on March 11, which triggered the crisis, leading to meltdowns at three of its six reactors.
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