Japan has new nuclear safety guidelines and applications will start soon for 13 nuclear reactors to restart early in 2014

Japan’s nuclear regulator announced an overhaul of the country’s nuclear safety guidelines Wednesday, the first since a giant tsunami swept over a nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan two years ago and set off the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, even as signs of new trouble at the stricken plant underscored the hazardousness of the site’s cleanup.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing to restart some of Japan’s 50 commercial reactors, all but two of which remain idle amid public anxiety over nuclear safety in the wake of the 2011 disaster.

The announcement of the new guidelines starts a process that could allow some of the country’s idled reactors to come back online early next year.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority said it would start accepting applications on July 8 from power companies seeking to restart their reactors. Seven companies have said they will apply to restart a total of 13 reactors across Japan.


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