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Seems like the decision has been made

April 10, 2012

KEPCO gives govt road map on Oi reactors

Kansai Electric Power Co. President Makoto Yagi on Monday submitted to Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano a road map of safety measures for the reactivation of the idled Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture.

This includes measures to set up filtered ventilation equipment for reactors in fiscal 2015 to suppress the release of radioactive substances.

The road map was formulated based on medium- and long-term nuclear reactor safety standards that KEPCO was instructed to implement by the government Friday.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was expected to hold the fourth meeting of related ministers Monday evening, with an eye on reactivating the reactors and making the final confirmation of the nuclear power plant's safety.

The road map was made to implement 30 nuclear reactor safety standards created in March by the ministry's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which are based on the lessons learned from the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

These standards include emergency measures to prevent serious accidents, even at a time when all power supply is lost, which have already been implemented at the two reactors. The road map clarifies the timing for the implementation of medium- to long-term measures to further improve the reactors' reliability.

They include further elevating breakwaters in fiscal 2013, and bringing forward by a year to fiscal 2015 the planned installation of a seismically isolated building from which the operation of reactors will be controlled during an emergency.

The enhancement of cooling and power-supply facilities were also included in the road map.

KEPCO is expected to spend at least 200 billion yen on safety enhancement measures at its power plants, including the one at Oi.

Edano called on Yagi to make further efforts to enhance nuclear safety by saying, "It is important for power companies to break away from the myth of [nuclear power plant's] infallible safety and to set a higher safety bar."

Yagi told Edano the firm is dedicated to taking every measure to improve the safety and reliability of its plants.

Noda was expected to make a final decision on the reactors' safety as early as Monday evening at the ministerial meeting after studying both the road map and verification results of emergency measures by the safety agency.

Should he judge the reactors are safe enough, a decision will be made on whether they will ask the local government to approve the reactivation.

If the reactors are not activated, the areas covered by KEPCO are expected to face a power shortage of up to 19.3 percent in summer, which makes it likely the reactivation will be endorsed.

(Apr. 10, 2012)

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