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IAEA To Visit Japan Quake-Hit Nuclear Plant Next Week

The Japanese nuclear official said authorities would fully cooperate with the IAEA experts.
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 02, 2007
The UN's nuclear watchdog is expected to send experts to Japan next week to examine a nuclear power plant damaged during a deadly earthquake, officials said Thursday. "We've heard the IAEA's inspectors will examine the nuclear plant from Monday through Thursday and on Friday exchange information with Japanese officials in Tokyo," an official at Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said.

Japan invited the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency to visit its largest nuclear plant in hopes of easing concern at home and abroad after the 6.8-magnitude earthquake on July 16, which caused a radiation leak.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., has said the radiation was far too little to cause health concerns but came under criticism for initially underreporting the level.

Japan's government has voiced concern about foreign media coverage of the plant incident after Italian soccer club Catania cited worries about radiation to cancel a tour of the country.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of Tokyo, is the largest nuclear facility in the world and was shut down indefinitely as a precaution after the earthquake.

The Japanese nuclear official said authorities would fully cooperate with the IAEA experts.

"We will not instruct them nor suggest anything on their inspections so as to guarantee a fair and independent examination," he said.

IAEA director-general Mohamed ElBaradei has said in a statement it was important to draw lessons from this case "that might have implications for the international nuclear safety regime."

The earthquake killed 11 people and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Despite the risks of earthquakes, Japan has been trying to increase its reliance on nuclear power as it has almost no natural energy resources of its own.

Tokyo Electric this week slashed its earnings forecast for the full financial year due to the earthquake.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Hitachi Cuts Losses With Nuclear Plant Sales
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 01, 2007
Japanese high-tech and energy giant Hitachi said Tuesday that it had reduced its first-quarter net loss by almost half, helped by higher sales of nuclear power equipment. Operating profit nearly doubled as lower earnings in IT systems and digital consumer products were offset by increases in the power and industrial systems division, the company said in a statement. Net losses narrowed to 13.62 billion yen (114 million dollars) in the three months to June from 22.04 billion yen a year earlier, a company statement said.

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