13 Juin 2013
June 12, 2013
Revised plans to build an emergency response center for the only two nuclear reactors running in Japan will delay the restarts of two other reactors at the power station, the plant’s operator said.
Kansai Electric Power Co. said it will set up the makeshift response center at the Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture to deal with potential accidents at the currently online No. 3 and No. 4 reactors.
But the emergency center will be located next to the central control room--a key safety facility--for the now-idle No. 1 and No. 2 reactors. Under the instructions of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, these reactors will likely remain offline until the first half of fiscal 2015, when construction of the permanent center is complete.
Kansai Electric presented the plan to the NRA on June 11 in a meeting in Tokyo to discuss whether the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors meet new safety regulation standards that will take effect in July.
Under the new standards, emergency response centers for nuclear reactors must be housed in seismically isolated buildings. The Oi plant’s current emergency response center fails to meet those standards.
Kansai Electric plans to build a quake-proof control center building at the Oi plant, but it needs a temporary facility to house the emergency center in the meantime.
The utility initially proposed housing the emergency center in a conference hall next to the central control room for the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors. But the NRA said the location does not qualify as a base for dealing with potential problems at the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors.
That led Kansai Electric to propose the use of the conference hall next to the central control room for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors. The NRA has given its basic endorsement to the plan on condition that the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors remain idled.
If no key safety problems are found, the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors will continue to run until they are shut down for regular inspections in September.
They will have to pass safety screenings based on the new regulation standards if they are to be reactivated.