After the Fukushima disaster of March 2011, the government of Japan created new regulations for nuclear power and nuclear reprocessing (i.e. the recycling of spent fuel). The new compliance review process deserves credit for closing some safety gaps, and if the owners of the Rokkasho reprocessing plant, a major facility under construction for more than two decades now, implement adequate measures and operate the facility as expected based on the new requirements, the plant’s safety could certainly improve. However, potential risks have thus far gone unaddressed by the new review process, and unless the government deals with these problems, it will not be able to ensure maximum safety.
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