5 Juillet 2012
July 5, 2012
FUKUI, Japan (Kyodo) -- Japan regained supply of nuclear-generated electricity early Thursday when a reactor at the Oi plant in western Japan was connected to the generator and transmission grid, with all other reactors in the country remaining idled for prolonged checkups in the wake of last year's Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Following its reactivation Sunday after being idled for 15 months for mandatory checks, the No. 3 reactor at the Kansai Electric Power Co. plant in Fukui Prefecture had its turbine linked and began generating and supplying power around 7 a.m. It will gradually increase output and run at full capacity as early as from Monday, officials said.
The resumption of the 1.18 million-kilowatt reactor is expected to ease the utility's projected power shortfall for this summer to 9.2 percent from 14.9 percent and lead the government to lower its summer power-saving target for the firm's service area in western Japan to 10 percent from 15 percent.
"We have made a step toward the safe and stable supply of electricity by being able to deliver nuclear-generated electricity for the first time in four and a half months," Kansai Electric President Makoto Yagi said in a statement, referring to the shutdown in February of the last of its 11 reactors.
The reactor attained a sustained nuclear fission chain reaction, known as criticality, early Monday and had been expected to resume power generation Wednesday, but it took another day to adjust the turbine.
Following government approval on June 16, Kansai Electric is also preparing to reactivate the plant's No. 4 reactor as early as July 18 and return to full operation possibly on July 25.
Since the last operating reactor in Hokkaido was deactivated for routine checks in early May, all of Japan's 50 commercial reactors had been idled amid heightened public concern over the safety of nuclear power following the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant, triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.