Japan Restarts Second Nuclear Reactor

The second unit at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear facility in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, has restarted, and three more of the country’s 43 operable reactors may soon follow suit. 

Kyushu Electric restarted the 846-MW Sendai 2 nuclear facility on Oct. 15, with plans to connect to the grid on Oct. 21, and to achieve full power by early November. Pending findings from a final inspection by the country’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA), commercial operation is expected by mid-November.

Kyushu restarted Sendai 1 on Aug. 11, resuming commercial operation this September. The reactors are the first to operate under new NRA safety standards established after the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Operations at the Sendai reactors were suspended four years ago.

According to industry observers, the next one likely to restart is Shikoku Electric’s Ikata 3, which has received approval to restart from the Ikata town assembly and Ehime prefectural assembly. Shikoku is awaiting the NRA’s final pre-service inspection.

At the same time, the NRA has approved Kansai Electric’s construction and operational safety plans for the Takahama 3 and 4 reactors. The utility has asked the NRA to conduct inspections before loading fuel as it awaits a court decision, due on Nov. 14. A Japanese court this April issued a temporary injunction prohibiting restart of the two reactors, marking a victory for local residents in western Japan’s Fukui Prefecture.

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)



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