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Japan drafts new nuclear safety rules

Japan’s nuclear watchdog has published new draft safety standards that it hopes will prevent a repeat of the disaster at Fukushima.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said measures must be taken to defend atomic power plants against tsunamis, earthquakes and terrorist attacks.

Under the proposed rules there will be a ban on building reactors near active tectonic faults, which themselves will be redefined in a move that will make many more of them fit that definition.

At present, active faults are defined as those that have moved in the last 130,000 years, but the NRA will move the benchmark to any time in the last 400,000 years.

Up to five nuclear plants in Japan sit atop a possible active seismic fault, NRA-appointed experts have said.

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the NRA, said earlier this year that plants would have to be able to survive a direct hit from a hijacked airliner or ship, as well as withstand tsunamis like the one that crippled Fukushima.

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