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World’s largest Quake-Hit N-Power Plant in Japan to Reopen Shortly

kashiwazaki-kariwa-nuclearJapan’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station, the world’s largest in terms of production, damaged in the 2007 quake, may resume operations shortly on a trial basis.

The governor of Niigata prefecture, where the plant is located, had given “de facto approval” for the plant to reopen, and was scheduled to hold talks with the mayors of two local towns to reach a final agreement for restarting the facility.

The nuclear plant was shut in July 2007 when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake caused a transformer fire at one unit and sent about 316 gallons of water containing radioactive material leaking into the Sea of Japan.

TKECF, also known as Tepco, kept the plant shut following the quake during an investigation of its safety. Tepco itself had conducted a detailed geological study of the area around the power plant amid concerns it was sitting on an active fault not accounted for in its original design.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry also set up an independent committee of experts to investigate problems at the plant. But following the quake, both Tepco and METI said the level of radioactivity leaked was much smaller than the limit under Japanese regulations.

Tepco Executive Vice President Ichiro Takekuro said that based on current oil prices and foreign-exchange rates, full-year commercial operations would boost Tepco’s profit by slightly more than 70 billion yen ($700 million) a year.