OI, Fukui Prefecture--Kansai Electric Power Co. restarted the No. 4 reactor at the Oi nuclear power plant here at 9 p.m. on July 18, marking the second of Japan's 50 idled nuclear reactors to be brought back online.
In the early morning on July 19, the reactor is expected to reach criticality, in which nuclear fissions take place in succession.
If the process goes smoothly, the reactor, whose output is 1.18 million kilowatts, will start transmitting electricity on July 21. Full-scale operations will begin on July 25.
Senior vice industry minister Seishu Makino, who is responsible for the central government’s special monitoring of the Oi nuclear plant, watched the restart from the plant's central control room.
At the Oi plant, the No. 3 nuclear reactor resumed operations on July 1, ending the first time Japan was without nuclear power since 1970.
The No. 3 reactor was the first to have been restarted among the 50 that had suspended operations for regular inspections or safety checks since the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.
The No. 3 reactor has been fully operating since July 9, supplying electricity to parts of the Kansai region and Fukui Prefecture.
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