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Japan Asks Chubu Electric to Reassess Safety of Hamaoka Site

Japan’s nuclear watchdog ordered Chubu Electric Power Co. to assess the impact of a tsunami as high as 21 meters (69 feet) on its Hamaoka plant after a government panel said quakes could trigger such sea waves.

Chubu Electric is constructing additional defenses to protect the plant from a 15-meter-high tsunami, similar to the one that hit Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi station, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said in a statement yesterday. The company, based in Aichi, western Japan, should take steps based on its assessment and report to NISA by April 16, the agency said.

The Hamaoka plant in Shizuoka prefecture southwest of Tokyo was shut in May at the request of then Prime Minister Naoto Kan after the Fukushima disaster raised concerns that Japan’s nuclear plants may not be adequately protected from natural disasters. The company said it plans to spend 140 billion yen ($1.7 billion) to construct additional tsunami defenses.

Chubu Electric is building an 18-meter-high seawall and will examine whether it needs to revise its tsunami defense measures, originally scheduled to be completed by December, Akio Miyazaki, a spokesman, said by phone.

The cost of insuring Chubu’s debt against non-payment with credit-default swaps jumped 16 basis points to 158 basis points as of 9 a.m. in London, according to data provider CMA. That’s the biggest daily increase since Nov. 1 and the highest level since Jan. 23, CMA data show.

Chubu shares rose 1 percent to 1,493 yen at the close in Tokyo, the biggest gain since March 27.

Sea waves higher than 20 meters could hit six prefectures, including Shizuoka, if a magnitude-9.1 quake occurs in the Nankai Trough, located south of Japan’s Honshu island, a panel under the Cabinet Office said in a preliminary report March 31.

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