Nuclear plant guidelines criticized

April 6, 2011 at 7:53 AM
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TOKYO, April 6 (UPI) -- Japan's safety guidelines for designing nuclear power plants do not provide for prolonged power blackouts, Kyodo News reported Wednesday.

This could be blamed for the situation at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant which lost its external power and backup power and some of its vital cooling systems after being struck by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the report said.

The 1990 nuclear reactor safety guidelines were drawn up by the government Nuclear Safety Commission, but some utility officials were quoted as saying they are flawed in that they rule out long-term power loss because of backup power facilities and assume the power supply can be restored from the grid during emergencies, the report said.

Since the Fukushima crisis, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which includes the safety commission, has told utilities to secure their nuclear plant emergency power in the event of a prolonged disruption of external power.

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