The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current, July 21, 2014, Page Page 16, Image 16

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    Page 16 n THE ASIAN REPORTER
ASIA / PACIFIC
July 21, 2014
Actors exchange ‘I do’s’
on Chinese concert stage
PRELIMINARY APPROVAL PROTESTED. Protesters shout slogans against a Japanese nuclear
plant which won preliminary approval for meeting stringent post-Fukushima safety requirements, near the Diet
Building in Tokyo. The Nuclear Regulation Authority gave preliminary approval to a report that concludes that two
reactors at the Sendai Nuclear Power Station have complied with the new regulations and are capable of avoid-
ing disasters such as the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdowns, even if the plant faces equally harsh conditions. The
placard at right reads “Change energy policy!” (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Japanese nuclear plant
deemed safe, nears restart
By Mari Yamaguchi
The Associated Press
OKYO — A Japanese nuclear plant
has won preliminary approval for
meeting
stringent
post-
Fukushima safety regulations, an
important step toward restarting the
country’s first reactors under the tighter
rules applied after the 2011 disaster.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority
accepted a report that found the design
upgrades and safety improvements at
Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s two reactors
at the Sendai Nuclear Power Station have
complied
with
the
requirements
introduced last July.
The regulators deemed the plant
capable of avoiding severe accidents in
situations equal to what occurred at
Fukushima Dai-ichi, where an earthquake
and tsunami critically damaged the plant,
causing reactor meltdowns that released
radiation into the nearby community. All
of Japan’s 48 remaining reactors are
offline for safety checks and repairs since
the 2011 disaster.
Five
regulatory
commissioners
unanimously agreed to move to a next
step, a 30-day technical public comment
period that ends August 15, before a final
approval.
Authority chairman Shunichi Tanaka
called it “a major step” and that the
inspection
for
the
Sendai
plant
incorporated lessons from Fukushima,
particularly focusing on ways to build
layers of protection in case of serious
incidents in a country prone to natural
disasters, including volcanic activity,
earthquakes, tsunami, and typhoons.
“Previously, safety inspections were
merely design-based, but this time we
focused on how to prevent severe
accidents,”
he
told
a
weekly
commissioners’ meeting, which was
repeatedly disrupted with anti-nuclear
protesters heckling from the floor.
Multi-layer steps are mainly to protect
the reactor core and its containment
chamber from damage, and plans are also
underway to reduce radiation leaks to a
fraction of the amount released in
Fukushima. The operator upgraded the
equipment’s seismic resistance and were
to triple the tsunami seawall to 50 feet,
Tanaka said. Other risks such as terrorist
attacks, airplane strikes, and violent
volcanic explosions also have been
considered.
The Sendai plant is surrounded by at
least five active volcanoes. Commissioner
Kunihiko Shimazaki, a seismologist, said
it’s difficult to accurately predict
eruptions, but current assessment
suggests a catastrophic eruption is
T
“extremely unlikely.”
Though public opposition over restarts
exceeds support, Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe’s government has been calling for
restarts, saying a prolonged shutdown
hurts Japan’s economy and reversing a
nuclear phase-out policy adopted by the
previous government. The safety approval
for the Sendai plant and its expected
restart marks a big boost for the nuclear
industry.
“I take this as a step forward,” Abe told
reporters. “When there is a final decision
that the plant is safe, we will proceed with
a plan to restart the reactors, while trying
to gain understanding from local
communities and the residents.”
It will still take a few more months to get
the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Sendai
Nuclear Power Station online, officials
said. The operator has to clear final steps
such as on-site checks, followed by
obtaining local government consent,
before the two reactors resume operations.
Two reactors in western Japan had been
briefly reactivated to avoid a summertime
power crunch but have been since
switched off pending safety checks.
Opponents say the approval is
premature, because some of the key safety
measures including filtered vents to
reduce radiation leaks can wait for two
years and communities still lack adequate
evacuation plans. They say regulators are
too optimistic to assume a massive
volcanic eruption is unlikely, and they
worry if adequate protection is considered
in case of contaminated water leaks as in
Fukushima.
Many Japanese nuclear reactors years
ago were built fairly close to densely
populated areas under loose safety
standards and evacuation requirements.
Recent simulations and drills in some
communities showed it would take more
than two days for all residents to evacuate
out of the zone.
“Japan is a volcanic island. Volcanoes
are considered a weak point for Japan,”
said Terukatsu Yoshida, who was among
dozens of protesters who opposed the
Sendai plant’s restart outside the
authority’s building in Tokyo.
The Sendai plant is 600 miles southwest
of Tokyo and on the southern tip of Japan’s
Kyushu island. Regulators in March
placed the plant, which operates two of 19
reactors nationwide that are undergoing
safety checks, on a fast-track for safety
approval, largely because the operator was
quick to raise the bar on tsunami and
earthquake safety.
Regulators will now shift to screening
the remaining 17 reactors that applied for
inspection.
HONG KONG (AP) — In
the closing act at a charity
event, Chinese actress
Zhou Xun sang two songs
then stayed on stage for the
best of encores.
Rumors had swirled
beforehand that Zhou
would be announcing her
engagement to actor Archie
Kao at the concert in
Hangzhou, the capital of
China’s eastern province of
Zhejiang.
But after she sang, she
went backstage to change
her outfit and reappeared
in an ivory Chanel wedding
gown, holding a bouquet.
As the crowd broke into a
loud cheer, she was joined
on stage by Kao, wearing a
black tuxedo.
The couple surprised
everyone by announcing
that they were getting
married on stage. They
went on to exchange vows
and rings in front of the
audience.
After saying “I do,” Kao
told the crowd, “It’s love
that brought us all here
tonight, and it’s also love
that brought me and my
ONSTAGE I DO’S. Chinese actress Zhou Xun, right, wearing a wed-
ding gown, stretches her hand to Chinese-American actor Archie Kao
during a concert in Hangzhou in east China’s Zhejiang province. Zhou
and Kao surprised everyone by announcing they were getting married
on stage at the concert in Hangzhou. They went on to exchange vows
and rings in front of the audience. (AP Photo)
wife together.”
A beaming Zhou said
she’s played a bride in
several movie roles, but is
happy that she’s getting
her own happy ending.
Zhou’s official Weibo
account quickly posted a
photo of the two, in their
wedding ensemble, sharing
a kiss. It’s the first
marriage for both.
Zhou, 39, is one of
China’s most sought-after
actresses and made her
Hollywood debut in Cloud
Atlas, starring alongside
Tom Hanks and Halle
Berry.
Kao, 44, is a Chinese-
American actor whose
credits
include
the
television series “CSI:
Crime Scene Investigation”
and Snow Flower and the
Secret Fan.
A NEW LAND USE MAP FOR PORTLAND, COMING THIS SUMMER
THE CITY’S NEW COMPREHENSIVE PLAN WILL INCLUDE LAND USE CHANGES TO CREATE
A HEALTHIER, SAFER, MORE CONNECTED CITY.
Zoom into your neighborhood
www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/mapapp
Through the interactive Map App, view proposed land use changes, read more about the project, join
the mailing list and comment.
The Comprehensive Plan Proposed Draft will be released July 21.
Share your feedback with the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC):
y Through the Map App.
y Submit written comments.
y Testify in person at one of the public hearings to be held September through November 2014.
y Tips for testifying: www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/383947
Informational open houses in September will help Portlanders understand the proposal and prepare
testimony. After considering public testimony, the PSC will forward a Recommended Plan to City
Council in early 2015.
Visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/pdxcompplan or call 503-823-7700.
The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is committed to providing equal access to information and hearings.
If you need special accommodation, translation or interpretation, please call 503-823-7700,
the City’s TTY at 503-823-6868, or the Oregon Relay Service at 711.
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