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World's Largest Nuclear Plant Closed for Months

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U.N. inspectors say the world's largest nuclear plant, damaged weeks ago by an earthquake in Japan, will be closed for "months or a year" while more checks are done.

An assessment team from the International Atomic Energy Agency spent four days inspecting the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant and officials say Friday more checks are needed before the plant can reopen.

The IAEA's safety chief Philippe Jamet said that the inspection team felt safe enough at the plant to eat sushi while there.

The facility caught fire and leaked a small amount of radiation following a powerful earthquake July 16.

The plant's operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), assured the public the radiation was not a health or environmental threat, but the company has been criticized for under-reporting the extent of the leak.

Japan invited the U.N. inspectors amid public concerns about the threat of nuclear contamination.

TEPCO has in the past been forced to admit falsifying inspection data connected to trouble at its nuclear power plants.

The IAEA is expected to release a preliminary report in the coming days.

Japan's nuclear power plants provide 30 percent of the nation's energy.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

 

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