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*Fukushima operator built nuclear plants to withstand only up to 7.9 quake*

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03/13/2011 12:19 AM
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*Fukushima operator built nuclear plants to withstand only up to 7.9 quake*
[link to online.wsj.com]

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it is ready to provide assistance if requested. All other Japanese power companies operating nuclear-power plants said their facilities are operating normally.

Separately, company documents show that Tokyo Electric tested the Fukushima plant to withstand a maximum seismic jolt lower than Friday's 8.9 earthquake. Tepco's last safety test of nuclear power plant Number 1—one that is currently in danger of meltdown—was done at a seismic magnitude the company considered the highest possible, but in fact turned out to be lower than Friday's quake. The information comes from the company's "Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 Updated Safety Measures" documents written in Japanese in 2010 and 2009. The documents were reviewed by Dow Jones.

The company said in the documents that 7.9 was the highest magnitude for which they tested the safety for their No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear power plants in Fukushima.