Japan falters with nuclear start-up

Nov. 2, 2011 at 7:41 AM
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TOKYO, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Fission was detected at a reactor at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant a day after the company said it would restart operations following a March meltdown.

A magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami led to a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. The disaster led to a near-global examination of nuclear power safety.

Tokyo Electric Power said Tuesday it was preparing to restart a reactor at the Fukushima plant. The company told the Financial Times in an e-mailed statement, however, that it responded to fission reported at its No. 2 reactor.

Fission at a nuclear plant raises the possibility of further radiation leaks. Japanese media reported there was a minimal chance of meltdown and the reactor was in stable condition.

A reactor at a plant in southwestern Japan, closed in October because of problems with a cooling system, was scheduled to return to service, the Financial Times adds.

Japan had 54 reactors online before the March earthquake but has since turned to liquefied natural gas to make up for the energy deficit brought on by the Fukushima meltdown.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in recent statements, said the Japanese nuclear disaster "caused deep public anxiety throughout the world and damaged confidence in nuclear power."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in response to Japan's nuclear disaster, ordered eight of the country's 17 nuclear reactors closed by year's end and a total shutdown by 2022.

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