20 Novembre 2012
November 20, 2012
The planned restart of a reactor at the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant may be pushed back due to an inspection delay, plant operator Chubu Electric Power Co. announced on Nov. 19.
Chubu Electric was set to complete its inspection on the Hamaoka plant's No. 5 reactor, which was flooded with seawater in May 2011, in preparation for its planned restart of the unit in September 2014.
According to the utility, however, the completion of the inspection must be delayed all the way to September 2014 while spent fuel rods from the plant's No. 1 and 2 reactors -- now being dismantled -- are transferred to the No. 5 unit's quake-resistant fuel pool from January 2013.
The transfer of the 1,099 used fuel rods is expected to continue until March 2014, forcing Chubu Electric to delay the completion of its inspection of the No. 5 reactor until September 2014 to secure enough space to store the spent fuel rods.
If, however, inspectors detect any damage in the No. 5 reactor, restart could be further pushed back for repairs.
"In order to reassure local residents, we decided it was necessary to proceed with the plans (to disassemble the No. 1 and 2 reactors," Hiromu Masuda, head of the utility's nuclear power division, told reporters at a Nov. 19 news conference.
The No. 3 and 4 reactors at the plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, are also idle.
The utility is seeking a quick restart to the nuclear plant, but in addition to the delay in the reactor check, completion of tsunami-resistance improvements have also been pushed back by a year, to December 2013.