Construction delays push back restart of Hamaoka nuclear plant to 2014

July 31, 2012

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

Chubu Electric Power Co., citing construction delays, said it won't be able to resume operations at its Hamaoka nuclear power plant until at least 2014.

Chubu Electric said July 30 that work to protect the facility from tsunami would be delayed by about one year.

The utility had initially said the work would finish by the end of 2012. The plant is in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture.

The company said a closer examination of the construction work turned up a need for more emergency gas turbine generators, which led to an extension to complete the work.

At the request of Naoto Kan, prime minister at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Chubu Electric agreed in May 2011 to shut down all the reactors at the Hamaoka plant.

Under an agreement with the central government, Chubu Electric can only resume operations at the Hamaoka plant after anti-tsunami measures have been implemented.

Chubu Electric plans to spend about 140 billion yen ($1.8 billion) on the measures, with a key feature being the construction of an 18-meter coastal levee.

However, in March, the Cabinet Office released an estimate in the event of a huge earthquake striking beneath the Nankai Trough off the southern coast of Honshu. It said there was a possibility of 21-meter-high tsunami hitting the Hamaoka plant.

Local government officials asked Chubu Electric to revise its anti-tsunami measures because the planned coastal levee only goes as high as 18 meters, which would not be sufficient to contain the towering tsunami.

Chubu Electric officials are considering reviewing their anti-tsunami measures after examining detailed data that the Cabinet Office is scheduled to release in August.

If it decides to raise the height of the coastal levee, that could lead to a further delay in completing the construction work, which would push back the resumption of operations at the Hamaoka plant.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Work is under way on a coastal levee at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Work is under way on a coastal levee at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Work is under way on a coastal levee at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
  • Shizuoka prefectural government officials, foreground, listen to a July 30 explanation about the delay in construction work from Chubu Electric Power Co. officials. (Daiki Koga)
  • Chubu Electric Power Co. President Akihisa Mizuno explains July 30 the delay in construction work at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant. (Jun Hasegawa)

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