Seismologists warn against Japan's nuclear restart
Japan is ignoring the safety lessons of the Fukushima crisis, according to two prominent seismologists who warned against restarting two reactors.
Seismic modelling by Japan's nuclear regulator did not properly take into account active fault lines near the Ohi plant, said Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a seismologist at Kobe University.
"The stress tests and new safety guidelines for restarting nuclear power plants both allow for accidents at plants to occur," Ishibashi told reporters. "Instead of making standards more strict, they both represent a severe setback in safety standards."
Mitsuhisa Watanabe, a tectonic geomorphology professor at Tokyo University, added that experts advising Japan's nuclear industry had underestimated the seismic threat.
"The expertise and neutrality of experts advising Japan's Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency are highly questionable," Watanabe said.
After an earthquake in 2007 caused radiation leaks at reactors north of Tokyo, Ishibashi said Japan was at risk of a nuclear disaster following a large earthquake, a warning that proved prescient after Fukushima.
While it is impossible to predict when earthquakes will happen, Ishibashi said the magnitude 9 quake last year made it more likely "devastating" earthquakes would follow.