Japan to stress-test nuclear plants in bid to reassure public
Japan plans to carry out stress tests on nuclear power plants across the country to reassure the public, especially those living near the installations, Industry Minister Banri Kaieda said Wednesday, DPA reported.
The move is part of the government's efforts to persuade citizens to accept the restarting of a number of reactors throughout the country that have been suspended for inspection since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Radioactive material has been released from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 250 kilometres north-east of Tokyo, ever since it was hit by the disaster, forcing tens of thousands of residents to leave the area.
Members of the public have expressed concern that the rest of Japan's nuclear plants, which provide 30 per cent of the country's electricity, could be vulnerable to similar disasters.
The stress tests are to be carried out on top of conventional safety inspections, so they might cause delays in restarting the reactors, the Jiji Press agency reported.
Kaieda said the government wanted to prevent power shortages.
"Although the safety of nuclear power plants in Japan has already been ensured, we will be doing the stress tests to make the Japanese people feel safer," Kaieda was quoted as saying.
European countries have already conducted stress tests on their nuclear power plants in the wake of Japan's nuclear crisis.