Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority has officially decided on a set of new and stricter safety guidelines for running nuclear power plants.
The regulators on Wednesday unanimously approved the final draft of the guidelines. The work to revise them started last October.
Plant operators will be obliged to take concrete steps to deal with serious accidents. Until now, such action was voluntary.
Power companies will also be required to draw up emergency scenarios for bigger earthquakes and tsunami.
NRA chief Shunichi Tanaka said the guidelines are up to international standards. But he said their true value will be tested when they are implemented. He also said there is a need for the NRA to establish a system of revising the guidelines further.
The new system takes effect on July 8th. The regulators say they expect to receive applications from power companies wanting to restart their nuclear reactors.
The operators of 6 plants will likely to apply for a restart. The facilities have pressurized water reactors, which are different from the boiling water reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
The regulators say they will need at least 6 months to screen applications.
Per Uranium Investing News, Japan's new regulations relating to nuclear energy take affect Monday July 8. Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) has already filed with Nuclear Regulation Authority to restart 2 idle reactors. Four other Japanese utilities are expected to file in the coming week.