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A nuclear power plant is being temporarily shut down that provides power to some of Japan's biggest automakers. The Japanese prime minister says Chubu Electric's Hamaoka plant needs to have its safety systems improved in case of being hit by an earthquake or tsunami.
Chubu Electric president Akihisa Mizuno says the company will immediately look to shut down all reactors at a nuclear power plant located 120 miles southwest of Tokyo.
Last Friday, Prime Minister Naoto Kan had asked for the plant to be shut… saying its safety systems aren’t sufficient to withstand a tsunami or earthquake.
The plant sits near an active earthquake zone that the government has forecast carries an 87 percent chance of producing a magnitude 8 or stronger earthquake in the next 30 years.
Chubu Electric's Hamaoka plant provides power to half of the 18 plants that make Toyota Motor Corp's vehicles in Japan, and all four of Suzuki Motor Corp's domestic car and motorcycle factories.
[Akihisa Mizuno, President, Chubu Electric]:
"By halting the Hamaoka nuclear plant, we are causing great short-term trouble to not only those in the plant area but also many others including our customers and our shareholders."
The company says it will restart the plant once its tsunami wall and other safety steps are approved by authorities.
Chubu also announced it can no longer provide extra power to eastern Japan, which runs on a 50hz system.
Japan has called for stricter safety measures following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that damaged Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.