Japan to seek IAEA advice before restarting reactors

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TOKYO —
Japan plans to seek advice from the U.N. atomic watchdog before restarting nuclear reactors stopped as a precaution after the March 11 earthquake-tsunami disaster.

New industry minister Yoshio Hachiro said he wanted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to assess the safety of the reactors and hoped they would be able to restart as soon as possible.

Currently, 35 of Japan’s 54 reactors are offline, either because of the quake or for routine maintenance work.

Chugoku Electric Power Co. is preparing for the construction of the Kaminoseki plant in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Referring to this plant, Hachiro said, “I believe it will be difficult to construct a new plant that is still in the planning stages.”

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At the same time, he said he would not stand in the way of exporting Japan’s nuclear power plant technology.

“It is not completely bad for Japan,” Hachiro said. “I believe there is room to overcome the extreme views held by some of the public, and I believe my mission is to seek that out.”

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