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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Japanese Nuclear Plant Closed After Serious Quake Damage

KASHIWAZAKI, Japan -- An earthquake-ravaged nuclear plant was shuttered indefinitely Wednesday, amid revelations that damage was worse than initially announced and mounting international concern about Japanese nuclear stewardship.

The mayor of Kashiwazaki ordered the damaged Kashiwazaki-Kariwa facility closed until its safety could be confirmed, escalating a showdown over a list of problems at the world's largest nuclear power plant in terms of output capacity.

The International Atomic Energy Agency meanwhile pressed Japan to undertake a transparent and thorough investigation of the accidents to see whether there were lessons that could be applied to nuclear plants elsewhere.

Adding to the urgency were new data from aftershocks of Monday's deadly 6.8-magnitude quake suggesting a fault line may run beneath the mammoth power plant.

Tsunehisa Katsumata, president of plant operator Tokyo Electric Power, visited the site Wednesday morning, declaring it "a mess." On Tuesday evening, his company released a long list of problems triggered by the quake.

A tour later given to Japan's Communist Party chief, Kazuo Shii, and a handful of reporters revealed widespread damage across its sprawling compound, including large cracks in roads, toppled concrete fences and buckled sidewalks.

"This is unforgivable," Shii told operator's deputy superintendent, Masakazu Minamidate. "You say there's no leak before you really know. ... The delay in information was especially inexcusable."

Katsumata earlier apologized for "all the worry and trouble we have caused," but defended the safety standards.