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Rokkasho plant should be shut down in energy policy shift

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Japan’s nuclear watchdog has effectively endorsed the safety of a controversial nuclear reprocessing plant being built in a village along the Pacific coast in northern Japan.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority on July 29 approved an outline of safety measures for the trouble-plagued nuclear fuel reprocessing plant Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. is building in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture.

The NRA said the outline meets the new safety standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The NRA’s decision marks a major step forward in constructing the plant for recovering plutonium from spent nuclear reactor fuel, the core facility for the government’s program to establish a nuclear fuel recycling system.

NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa, however, stressed that the body’s decision does not mean an endorsement of the nuclear fuel recycling policy per se, saying in a news conference that it is a “policy issue” whether there is enough of a rationale for pursuing the policy.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration should confront the reality that the catastrophic accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power........

© The Asahi Shimbun