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Disaster drills at sendai plant

July 31, 2015

Large-scale disaster drills held at Kyushu nuclear plant ahead of planned reactivation


KAGOSHIMA -- Kyushu Electric Power Co. carried out large-scale disaster drills at its Sendai Nuclear Power Plant's No. 1 reactor on July 30, as it moves toward a planned restart of the reactor in August.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA)'s secretariat had planned to make the utility repeat the drills if there were any large problems with them, but says it received no reports of any glitches. The secretariat had 15 inspectors watching over the drills. July 30 also saw the completion of all of the NRA's pre-use inspections of the reactor, which started in March this year.

The drills began on July 27, and were conducted under a scenario that the reactor had lost all its power supplies and was going to suffer a meltdown. Fifty-two people participated in the drills, over around 26 hours spread across the four days. On the last day, workers practiced the procedure for sending cooling water into the air conditioning system of the reactor's containment vessel to decrease pressure in the vessel.

Sendai Nuclear Power Plant passed the NRA's safety inspection in September 2014, and by November that year it had gained local agreement to restart the reactor.

Starting Aug. 4, Kyushu Electric will spend around five days raising the pressure and temperature of the reactor as it performs final checks in preparation for a restart. Kyushu Electric plans to restart the reactor on Aug. 10, and begin producing and sending electricity from it on Aug. 13. It intends to resume commercial operations with the reactor in mid-September.

The reactor would become the first operational nuclear reactor in Japan since the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Oi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture were active from July 2012 to September 2013. The Sendai Nuclear Power Plant reactor is set to become the first nuclear reactor restarting under new, strengthened safety procedures incorporating lessons from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster.

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July 31, 2015 (Mainichi Japan)

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