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Hamaoka reactor

February 14, 2014

Chubu Electric applies to restart risk-laden Hamaoka nuclear plant


Chubu Electric Power Co. on Friday applied for a safety assessment for one of the three reactors at its Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka Prefecture despite the tsunami risk that forced its shutdown in 2011 at the request of Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

The move bumped up the number of safety assessment applications received by the Nuclear Regulation Authority to 17.

The NRA is expected to use the same procedure as it does on reactors elsewhere despite the unusual request by Kan, which was sparked by fears over the plant’s ability to withstand tsunami.

The Hamaoka complex is located in the city of Omaezaki on the Pacific coast, in an area that is assumed ripe for a massive earthquake. Two of the five reactors at the plant were retired in 2009.

Chubu Electric has been installing huge seawalls and taking other measures to protect the plant. The measures are expected to be completed by September 2015.

Under the new nuclear watchdog, all of the nation’s 48 commercial reactors must pass new safety assessments before they can be restarted.

The NRA has yet to finish any of the safety checks.


Safety screening sought for Hamaoka reactor




Chubu Electric Power Company has applied for a safety screening for a nuclear reactor in central Japan. Such screenings are required for restarting reactors.

Executive Vice President Masatoshi Sakaguchi filed the application on Friday with the Nuclear Regulation Authority for the No.4 reactor at the Hamaoka plant in Shizuoka Prefecture. The plant has five reactors, two of which are shut down for decommissioning.

The Nagoya-based utility halted operations at the plant at the government's request after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The Hamaoka plant is within the projected focal region of a mega-quake that experts have long warned about.
As for safety measures, the company has raised its estimate for the maximum ground acceleration caused by an earthquake by 1.5 times, to 1,200 gals. It is also building a 22-meter-high breakwater to protect the plant from tsunami.

Later on Friday, Sakaguchi told reporters that the utility will respond sincerely to any questions from authorities on safety measures. He added that the company will explain the safety of the plant to local residents.

The procedure is required to clear the government's new, stricter safety guidelines before the reactors can be reactivated.

All of Japan's 50 rectors are currently off-line. But 17 reactors at 10 nuclear power plants have submitted applications for inspections.

Feb. 14, 2014 - Updated 05:20 UTC

Chubu Electric seeks to restart Hamaoka nuclear plant



TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Chubu Electric Power Co. applied Friday for a state safety assessment of the No. 4 reactor at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in central Japan, which was forced to shut down in 2011 after operation of the complex was deemed too risky.

The utility plans to finish installing huge seawalls and other safety measures by the end of September 2015 to satisfy the country's new nuclear regulations compiled after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, and move on to reactivate the No. 4 unit.

Located on the Pacific coast, about 190 kilometers southwest of Tokyo, the Hamaoka complex in Shizuoka Prefecture is believed to be situated at the potential epicenter for a massive earthquake. Two of the five reactors at the plant were retired in 2009.

With the latest move, the total number of reactors in Japan for which applications for safety checks have been submitted to the Nuclear Regulation Authority rose to 17 at 10 power stations.

The NRA is expected to employ the same procedure to check the Hamaoka No. 4 unit as for the other reactors, despite the government having issued an unusual request in May 2011 to suspend operation of the plant because of doubts about its tsunami preparedness.

In submitting the application, Chubu Electric Power's Executive Vice President Masatoshi Sakaguchi said, "I think we are in a different dimension" compared from the time it received the suspension request "because new criteria for screening reactors have been set."

But he stopped short of stating when the company is seeking to resume operation of the reactor, saying, "We are not yet at the stage of talking about the next step."

To enhance the safety of the No. 4 unit, Chubu Electric has raised its estimate of the maximum possible seismic ground motion the reactor building should withstand to 1,200 gals from 800 gals. Some facilities at the plant will be set at 2,000 gals.

The utility is also building seawalls that are high enough to counter tsunami waves 21 meters above sea level, and plans to prepare an additional building as an emergency response center that can satisfy the new regulations.

The company expects to spend some 300 billion yen overall for safety measures, including those already taken voluntarily after the Fukushima crisis and steps to respond to the new regulations, according to Sakaguchi.

Japan has revamped its regulatory setup by launching the NRA and also introduced new safety requirements that reflect the lessons learned from the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant, sparked by a huge earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The NRA has not finished any of the reactors' safety checks so far, a process which started from July last year. All of the 48 commercial reactors in Japan are currently offline.

February 14, 2014(Mainichi Japan)

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