MATSUE--Chugoku Electric Power Co. will delay the start of operations at a new reactor under construction at its Shimane nuclear plant here due to inadequate defense against tsunami and equipment problems.
The utility said May 31 the scheduled March 2012 start of the No. 3 reactor at the plant in Shimane Prefecture will be postponed, adding that it does not know when the new reactor will be put into operation.
The new reactor, a 1.37-gigawatt advanced boiling water reactor, is located in the prefectural capital of Matsue.
"It will be hard to win the understanding of local governments (to start commercial operations) unless we put in place precautions against tsunami," Takahiko Watanuki, manager at the utility's Shimane nuclear power headquarters.
Chugoku Electric decided to build a coastal levee at the Shimane plant to protect against a 15-meter tsunami after the March 11 quake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Chugoku Electric also said that part of the reason for delaying the reactor's startup is uncertainty over the government's future anti-tsunami policies.
It also cited a delay in confirming whether glitches with equipment in the reactor discovered before the March 11 earthquake are fixed because the plant's maker, Hitachi Ltd., suffered damage in the disaster.
The crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant has heightened public concern over the safety of nuclear facilities, forcing operators to postpone the restart of reactors that were shut down for regular checks.
Construction of the No. 3 reactor started in December 2005. The No. 1 reactor is offline for checks, while the No. 2 reactor is operating.
The utility said the delay would not affect power supply in the Chugoku region it serves.
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