KEPCO: 2 online Oi reactors meet new safety standards

April 19, 2013

By RYUTA KOIKE/ Staff Writer

Kansai Electric Power Co. has concluded that the nation's only operating reactors, the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at its Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, comply with the government’s proposed new stricter safety standards that take effect in July.

The company compiled and submitted April 18 a report to the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the government’s nuclear industry watchdog, which will have the final say.

The NRA is scheduled to confirm the safety of the Oi reactors by the end of June. If there is no major safety problem found, it will approve the reactors’ operation until they are shut down for regular inspections, which will start from September.

According to the Kansai Electric report, a meeting room next to the central control room will be used as a management center in the event of an emergency, which is mandated under the new standards.

Based on the assumed maximum height of tsunami calculated at 2.85 meters, which is the same value as the result of a stress test done at the plant, the report said it is not necessary to construct a breakwater at the Oi facility. The plant sits at a height of 9.7 meters, so it said a tsunami even at the possible maximum height would not engulf the site.

Although a team of professionals at the NRA has been conducting a survey to determine whether a fault running beneath the plant is active, the report denied the existence of any fault activity.

Ikuo Morinaka, Kansai Electric’s corporate director, expressed confidence that the two Oi reactors will continue operating after the new safety standards take effect in July.

“We believe they (the Oi No. 3 and No. 4 reactors) comply (with the new safety standards),” he said.

The NRA began the process to confirm their safety at an appraisal meeting held on April 19. After that, through hearings for Kansai Electric and field investigation work in the Oi facility, the NRA will confirm the current level of compliance with the new safety standards.

This work will also be taken as preparation for the NRA to conduct examinations of other nuclear power plants, which are scheduled to commence in July. Currently 48 of the nation's 50 nuclear reactors remain offline, a consequence of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant following the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, which has prompted new safety standards for the industry to be drafted.

“It is difficult to say what we will finally decide about the Oi plant,” said Shunichi Tanaka, NRA chairman. “But, we will make our best effort to confirm the current situation.”

By RYUTA KOIKE/ Staff Writer
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The Oi nuclear power plant, with the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in the foreground (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

The Oi nuclear power plant, with the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in the foreground (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • The Oi nuclear power plant, with the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in the foreground (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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