Japan to Aging Nuke Plant: Shut Down

Hamaoka plant in earthquake-prone region closer to Tokyo than Fukushima Dai-ichi
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2011 8:20 AM CDT
Japan Tells Hamaoka Nuclear Plant to Close Down, Shore Up Tsunami Defenses
This Feb. 2011 aerial photo shows Hamaoka nuclear power plant of Chubu Electric Power Co., in Omaezaki city, Shizuoka prefecture, Japan.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

(Newser) – Nearly two months after an earthquake-tsunami one-two sent Fukushima Dai-ichi into a nuclear crisis that will haunt it for decades, Japan is telling another aging nuclear plant to close its doors until it can muster stronger defenses against Mother Nature. The decision might seem like it took an eternity to experts who've warned that the Hamaoka plant—built in a quake-prone zone 120 miles from Tokyo—should be shuttered, but the New York Times notes that it came relatively quickly in consensus-conscious Japan.

Chubu Electric Power Co., the utility that runs Hamaoka, is staving off a decision on PM Naoto Kan's request—which isn't legally binding, but is all but an order, notes the AP. Closing Hamaoka is likely to compound the power shortages that are expected this summer; on the other hand, experts predict a 90% chance of an 8.0+ quake in the area within three decades. Chubu execs were meeting again over the weekend to make a decision. (Read more Japan earthquake stories.)

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