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Government pamphlet claims existing nuclear power plants can withstand any great earthquake


   Amid the deep public concern over the safety of nuclear power plants, Akahata has learned that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), an arm of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, has produced pamphlets propagating unqualifiedly optimistic views on the anti-quake safety standards of nuclear power plants.


   gThe NISA is conducting rigorous examinations to ensure that sufficient safety measures are taken for nuclear power plants to withstand even a hypothetical great earthquake that may not actually occur,h the pamphlet proudly claims.


   However, the state has required nuclear power plants to withstand an earthquake with a magnitude at up to 6.5 on the Richter scale.


   The recent earthquake that hit Niigata Prefecture registered a magnitude at 6.8, causing serious problems at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station such as a fire at a transformer and radioactive leaks.


   The pamphlet also stated, gWalls insulate radioactive material from the outside. The NISA has thoroughly checked nuclear power plants and confirmed that they are in compliance.h At the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, however, water spilled over from pools storing spent nuclear fuel and several hundreds drums scattered, causing some lids to come off.


Rumors damaging business


   The earthquake has also badly affected tourism at beach resorts and hot springs in Niigata Prefecture.


   Means of transport are secured this time, in contrast to the earthquake that hit the same area three years ago. gThis time, the public is concerned about the damages to the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station,h a prefectural government official said.


   The Japanese Communist Party on July 23 requested the prefectural government to investigate damages to business and take measures to assist business owners.


   Even in Murakami City where the earthquake did not cause any major damage, many hotel reservations have been cancelled.


   Nishiyama Takashi, Nagaoka Cityfs Teradomari Sightseeing Association chair, said, gA total of 7,000 students cancelled their plan to stay here for seaside school excursions. It is pretty hopeless. We welcome the IAEAfs inspection of the nuclear power plant.h                         - Akahata, July 25, 2007


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