TOKYO, June 19 (UPI) -- The Japanese government Wednesday announced new safety guidelines that could allow idled nuclear reactors to come back online next year.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo has attempted to get some of the country's 50 commercial reactors restarted. Only two are running following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused multiple fuel meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and forced more than 100,000 people out of their homes, The New York Times reported.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority established last year has created safety standards that would improve the protection of the power-generating reactors from terrorist attacks and natural catastrophes, the Times reported.
The new guidelines provide that plant operators must augment their defenses against tsunamis and check under their facilities for active earthquake faults, the Times reported.
Applications from power companies seeking to restart their nuclear facilities will be accepted July 8. To date, seven companies have said they will apply to resume a total of 13 reactors across the country, the Times said.