Japan to conduct 'stress test' on nuclear plants

Japan will conduct a "stress test" on all its nuclear plants to check their resilience following the crisis at the tsunami-struck Fukushima Daiichi plant, Japanese media said Wednesday.

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda announced the plan as he pledged to secure enough electricity supplies for the peak usage summer months, Jiji Press said.

A 9.0 earthquake and a tsunami on March 11 crippled cooling systems of the Fukushima Daiichi plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power on the nation's northeast coast, triggering reactor meltdowns.

The plant spewed radioactive materials into the air, soil and sea in the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

Utilities not directly affected by the March disaster have not restarted reactors that were undergoing maintenance at the time, due to objections from local governments amid a wave of anti-nuclear sentiment.

Only 19 of Japan's 54 reactors are now operating, with more due to shut down for regular checks, forcing companies and citizens to save power.

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