The Washington Post reported today:
Japan’s economy minister said Monday two nuclear reactors tentatively met government safety standards even though completing improvements will take several years, paving the way for final approval for their startup soon.
The tentative approval for the restart of Oi Units 3 and 4 came after the release of new safety guidelines last Friday. Today’s action came despite the fact that Kansai Electric Company (KEPCO) officials admit that “more than one-third of the necessary upgrades on the list are still incomplete.”
The Washington Post story spells out the safety upgrades that will not be ready for some time:
Filtered vents that could substantially reduce radiation leaks in case of an accident threatening an explosion, a radiation-free crisis management building and fences to block debris washed up by a tsunami won’t be ready until 2015. This means the plant, as well as plant workers and residents, won’t be fully protected from radiation leaks if a Fukushima-class accident occurs while the measures are being taken.
Some of the delayed upgrades could have catastrophic results in the event of an accident:
Some experts said a resumption without these key protections would leave the plant vulnerable.
Tadahiro Katsuta, a Meiji University associate professor who was on a government panel that produced nuclear safety recommendations, said the upgrades completed are “mostly quick-fix measures,” and that more important ones, such as a crisis management center, have been put off.
“I doubt if this would suffice to carry out the lessons from Fukushima in the case of another accident,” Katsuta told public broadcaster NHK.
Currently, the crisis management headquarters at the … plant is in the basement, which would be flooded in case of a major tsunami, Kansai Electric officials said. The plant is relocating the function to a room next to the control room for the two reactors.