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Genkai No.2 reactor to be decommissioned

February 13, 2019



Kyushu Electric to decommission a 2nd reactor at its Genkai plant




Kyushu Electric Power Co. has decided to decommission a second reactor at its Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture rather than implement a costly upgrade to meet stricter safety standards.


The company balked at the huge investment needed to construct a facility to prevent terrorist attacks, one of the new safety requirements for all nuclear plants, in light of the reactor's low power output and impending end of its operational life, according to several utility sources.


The Genkai No. 2 reactor will become the 21st reactor to be decommissioned after the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.


Kyushu Electric sources noted that another factor in the decision concerned the difficulties the company encountered in acquiring the land needed to construct an anti-terrorist facility for the No. 2 reactor.


The No. 2 reactor had already shut down for a regular maintenance inspection when the Fukushima nuclear disaster unfolded, and never went back online.


Given that the reactor's 40-year operational life will be reached in March 2021, utility officials pondered whether to keep it running or decommission it.


Company officials determined that anticipated economic returns could not justify the huge outlay required for the tougher safety standards.


The tab to meet the new safety standards was estimated at 200 billion yen ($1.8 billion).


The No. 2 reactor only has an output of about 560,000 kilowatts, which is less than half the output of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors that have resumed operations at the Genkai plant.


Kyushu Electric decided in 2015 to decommission the Genkai No. 1 reactor, which had the same output as the No. 2 reactor, and has already started work.


Only four reactors that were reaching the end of their operational lives have so far been allowed an extension. In each case, the reactors had an output in excess of 800,000 kilowatts.


(This article was written by Yuji Yamashita and Naoyuki Takahashi.)

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