Japan Government Releases New Last Minute Safety Measures

The new safety measures introduced at the last minute intended to sway local governors to allow the Oi reactor to restart were released today.

The guidelines, based on 30 recommendations adopted last month by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, require nuclear power plants to install filtered vents that could reduce radiation leaks in case of an accident, as well as a device to prevent hydrogen explosions. About 13 of the recommendations – the most crucial measures needed to secure cooling functions and prevent meltdowns as in Fukushima – were implemented, but the rest were not. The guidelines did not set deadlines for the steps to be finished.”

So 13 “guidelines” were adopted in some manner. It is not clear if they are now binding law in some manner or simply suggestions as Japan’s nuclear regulators have done in the past. There are also no time tables or deadlines included with the new rules rendering them meaningless and likely to never actually see full implementation. In order for any new safety changes to have any impact at all they would need to be mandated by law and operation contingent on their completion. None of that appears to be the case here and it would be impossible for even the Oi reactor to complete all of the new safety guidelines by May when the last reactor will shut down for maintenance.

The feedback from the governor of Shiga and the mayor of Osaka was not good regarding these new “guidelines”. The governor said it was too soon to decide and asked “why rush”.  The mayor of Osaka questioned the context of putting these new guidelines together at the last minute over 2 days.

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