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News Summary: Japan OKs nuclear requirements

The Associated Press

NOD TO NUKES: Japan's nuclear watchdog formally approved a set of new safety requirements for atomic power plants, paving the way for the reopening of facilities shut down since the Fukushima disaster in a move critics charged was too hasty.

BEGINNING OF THE END: All but two of Japan's 50 reactors have been offline since a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered multiple meltdowns and massive radiation leaks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant northeast of Tokyo.

NEW SHERIFF: The new requirements specify for the first time that plants must take steps to guard against radiation leaks in the case of severe accidents, install emergency command centers and enact anti-terrorist measures. Operators are also required to upgrade their protection against tsunamis and earthquakes.

Safety was previously left up to the operators, relying on their self-interest in protecting their own investment.