Restart of Sendai Nuclear Plant Delayed to August

The long-awaited restart of the Sendai nuclear power plant, the first of Japan’s nuclear facilities to be re-licensed for operations after the nation’s entire fleet was shutdown in 2011 following the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami, will be pushed back to at least mid-August, plant owner Kyushu Electric Power said on June 2.

Restart of Sendai Unit 1 was expected in June or July, but Kyushu said pre-fueling tests will take a few weeks longer than expected. Restart of Unit 2 is still set for September.

The Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority had issued its final approval for restart in May after a district court in Kagoshima Prefecture rejected a petition from nearby residents to block the restart plan.

The two units at the 1,780-MW plant were commissioned in 1984 and 1985. The plant is located at the extreme southern end of Japan in the city of Satsumasendai.

Currently, all 43 of the nation’s operational reactors are offline. Five are being retired post-Fukushima, and 11 others besides Sendai are seeking approval to resume operations.

The national government has committed to keeping nuclear in the power mix, but progress on returning even a portion of Japan’s nuclear fleet to operations has been slow. In April, a Japanese court blocked plans by Kansai Electric Co. to restart two units at the Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture over concerns about the plant’s seismic safety.

—Thomas W. Overton JD is a POWER associate editor (@thomas_overton, @POWERmagazine)

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