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TOKYO, July 5. /ITAR-TASS reporter Yaroslav Makarov/. Four Japanese power companies filed today an application to the government to verify the compliance of their NPPs with the new enhanced safety regulations, after which the nuclear reactors may be restarted. This was announced by the National Committee on Nuclear power Regulation of Japan.
The companies Kansai Electric Power Co., Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. have in view restarting 12 reactors that have been stopped earlier on six NPPs in Japan. As estimated by Japanese authorities, the inspection will take not less than six months; therefore the nearest restart of a nuclear plant in Japan would scarcely happen before the end of 2013.
The new updated safety operation of nuclear power stations in Japan goes into effect July 8. In accordance with it, all nuclear power plants must be equipped with additional and redundant power and cooling systems in the event of natural disasters, as well as ventilation systems with robust filters blocking the release of radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere. In addition, the station operators must protect them from terrorist attacks. The guidelines were developed based on the experience of the accident at Fukushima-1 in 2011, which resulted in the contamination of large areas with radioactive substances.
After the events at Fukushima-1, almost all the nuclear power plants in Japan were stopped. Currently in the country operate only two of the 50 existing nuclear reactors that previously covered about a third of the country's electricity demand.