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» Gap between NRA and volcanologist over volcanic hazard after erruption of Mt. Ontake

The chairman of the nuclear safety regulator countered volcanologists’ claims that more discussion is needed before restarting idled reactors as it is impossible to predict volcanic hazards.

All reactors in Japan remain offline. But the Sendai plant, located in a region of southwestern Japan with active volcanoes, will restart soon after the Nuclear Regulation Authority gave a safety clearance to the facility in September based on new, tighter regulations.

NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka told a press conference that he disagrees with “arguments that we should stop all social activities because we never know when natural disasters happen,” saying there is a “gap” in perception between him and the volcanologists.

The nuclear safety regulator judged in September that risks of massive volcanic eruptions around the two-reactor Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture are negligible during the facility’s lifespan.

Public debate about the safety of the Sendai plant has been further fueled by the eruption of Mt. Ontake in central Japan that killed about 50 people.

The Sendai plant, on the island of Kyusu, is some 50 kilometers from Mt. Sakurajima, an active volcano. There are a total of five calderas around the complex.

<Media Report>
Nuclear safety chief counters experts over volcanic hazards (Mainichi Newspaper)

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