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information about Fukushima published in English in Japanese media info publiée en anglais dans la presse japonaise

More applications for restart


July 13, 2013


Kyushu Electric applies to restart two more reactors



By JIN NISHIKAWA/ Staff Writer

Kyushu Electric Power Co. submitted applications to the Nuclear Regulation Authority on July 12 to reactivate the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture.

The utility also submitted applications for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture on July 8.

Three other electric power companies that day applied to restart eight reactors at four nuclear power plants.

According to Kyushu Electric’s latest application, the quake-resistant building that would be used as emergency headquarters if a nuclear accident occurs will be completed in fiscal 2015. Until then, a temporary facility, which will be readied by September, will be used for that function.

The utility also revised its expectations for the largest tsunami that could possibly hit. Since such a tsunami would fall below the height of the plant site, no coastal levee will be required.

The No. 3 reactor will be used in plutonium-thermal (pluthermal) power generation, which burns mixed oxide (MOX) fuel containing plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel. The reactor had used such fuel before the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Of the 12 reactors that have had applications submitted, the two at Genkai have comparatively fewer issues to deal with since there are no active faults within the plant site and the risk of tsunami is low.

The Genkai reactors, therefore, are considered among those that have progressed the most in implementing safety measures, along with the No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture operated by Shikoku Electric Power Co.

A key issue in resuming operations at the Genkai reactors will be obtaining the consent of local governments.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority on July 16 will begin its evaluation of the applications submitted for the 10 reactors on July 8. Although the evaluation of the applications for the Genkai reactors will begin later, those reactors will be considered part of the first group of reactors seeking to resume operations.

Kyushu Electric files for safety checks on 2 more reactors



TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Kyushu Electric Power Co. on Friday filed for state safety assessments on two more reactors, raising the number of units in Japan seeking to restart operation to 12 after the new safety requirements were introduced earlier this week.

Power utilities are hurrying to file for safety reviews by the Nuclear Regulation Authority as they want to restart reactors that have remained idled due to concerns over the use of nuclear power in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi complex disaster.

Kyushu Electric Power filed applications Friday for the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Genkai nuclear power station in Saga Prefecture. It has already taken the same procedures for the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at the Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Reactors applying for resumption of their operations have so far all been pressurized water reactors, which are different from the type of reactors that suffered core meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Under the new safety regulations, reactors must have a venting system with filters that can reduce the amount of radioactive substances when pressure needs to be released from reactor containers during emergencies. The installation of the system involves major refurbishment.

But pressurized water reactors have been given a five-year moratorium to meet the requirement, enabling utilities to more swiftly file for the restart of this type of reactor.

Of the 50 commercial reactors in Japan, all but two are currently offline. To resume operation, reactors will have to be checked by the NRA to see whether they satisfy the new safety criteria.

The new requirements for the first time oblige utilities to put in place specific countermeasures against possible severe accidents like reactor core meltdowns, as well as against huge tsunami -- the direct cause of the Fukushima crisis.

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