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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Radioactive water leak suspends Japan's reactor start-up

Iran Press TV

Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:29AM

A radioactive water leak has suspended plans to reboot a reactor at a nuclear power plant in southern Japan, its operator said Sunday.

Kansai Electric Power Company said some 34 liters of cooling water containing radioactive materials leaked out from the reactor at its Takahama Nuclear Power Plant, located in Fukui Prefecture.

'Resumption procedures related to the incident have been suspended as we are still investigating the cause,' a company spokesman said, adding that the leak had no impact on the environment outside the building.

If operational, the nuclear reactor would be the fourth to come online after a nationwide shutdown following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

On March 11, 2011, a nine-magnitude earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami that inflicted heavy damage on the six-reactor Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The cooling systems of the plant's reactors were knocked out, leading to meltdowns and the release of radioactive radiation into the air, soil and sea.

The incident, considered the world's worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, also led to the evacuation of 160,000 people from areas near the power plant.

The Japanese government and utility firms have been pushing to get reactors back in operation although many people in the country reportedly oppose the return to nuclear energy following the 2011 crisis.

Two reactors in Japan's southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima restarted in August and October 2015, ending a two-year interruption in nuclear power generation over the Fukushima disaster.

Another reactor at the Takahama plant was switched on last month, but the recent accident freezes plans to bring the next one online. Local residents have already shown stiff opposition to the reactor's restart.

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