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Inspection delayed at Tomari plant

July 24, 2013


Tomari reactor checks suspended


The Nuclear Regulation Authority will suspend safety checks for two nuclear reactors run by Hokkaido Electric Power Co. because the utility’s applications were far from adequate.

Hokkaido Electric is “clearly unprepared” for checks to be carried out on reactors 1 and 2 at its Tomari nuclear power station in Hokkaido, NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa said Tuesday.

The checks will go ahead when the firm submits additional materials, the NRA said.

An official from Hokkaido Electric said the decision is unfortunate, adding that the utility will file revised applications for the reactors as soon as possible.

The NRA said Hokkaido Electric submitted analysis results showing how the reactor cooling water systems would cope in a severe nuclear catastrophe based on data from another type of cooling system.

It also said the power company failed to adequately explain whether the two reactors meet new safety standards. It told the company to withdraw its applications or file revised ones.

The NRA plans to continue screening the Tomari reactor 3. But Fuketa said the authority sees a lack of preparation.

Hokkaido Electric is one of four companies that applied for NRA checks on July 8, when new nuclear safety standards came into effect.

As for safety check applications for other reactors, the NRA said it will not screen those for reactors 3 and 4 at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi power plant in Fukui Prefecture until the authority knows the results of the ongoing fault research there. It will not take up reactors 3 and 4 at Kepco’s Takahama plant in the same prefecture at the next screening session due to the operator’s poor understanding of the underground structure of the plant site.




Regulators to hold open session on Tsuruga reactor



Japan's nuclear regulators plan to hold an open-door meeting to discuss the results of an additional survey by a nuclear power plant operator. The results run counter to their assessment that one of its reactors sits on an active fault.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority determined in May that an active fault runs under the Number 2 reactor of the Tsuruga nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The reactor may have to be scrapped because the government bans building nuclear reactors on or above active faults.

But earlier this month, plant operator Japan Atomic Power Company submitted the results of an additional survey that show the reactor does not sit on an active fault.
The company asked the authority to discuss the issue again.

At a meeting on Wednesday, the authority decided to hold an open session to hear the company's explanation and discuss what to do with the new results based on views of experts, if necessary.

Commissioner Kunihiko Shimazaki said they will examine whether the results require them to take new steps. The regulatory body says it may review its decision if it obtains any new knowledge.

The nuclear regulator also decided to reject Japan Atomic Power Company's request that it withdraw an order to report what would happen to more than 1,700 units of fuel rods at the plant if an active fault moves.

The order says the operator should outline preventive measures.
The authority says it is hard to imagine that the order would seriously damage the company.

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