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Japan Asks Utility To Shutter Three Nuclear Reactors

Citing the risk of devastating earthquakes, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan asked Chubu Electric Power to close three nuclear reactors at its Hamaoko nuclear plant. This facility, southwest of Tokyo, wasn't damaged in March's Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, which killed thousands. The Fukushima Dai-Ichi facility, owned by Tokyo Electric Power in northeastern Japan, has six reactors and suffered serious damage.

Prime Minister Kan says seismologists predict the Hamaoko plant could suffer a similar fate if operations continue. Bloomberg reports a Hamaoko shutdown would cut power from two reactors at the site and delay the start-up of a third; Kan asked the utility to take more precautions, such as building a levee to keep water out from nearby Suruga Bay.

Kan says he can't order the reactors' closure, he can only request it, according to CNN. Chubu has made no comment.