Kyushu Electric applies to restart two more reactors

July 13, 2013

By JIN NISHIKAWA/ Staff Writer

Kyushu Electric Power Co. submitted applications to the Nuclear Regulation Authority on July 12 to reactivate the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture.

The utility also submitted applications for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture on July 8.

Three other electric power companies that day applied to restart eight reactors at four nuclear power plants.

According to Kyushu Electric’s latest application, the quake-resistant building that would be used as emergency headquarters if a nuclear accident occurs will be completed in fiscal 2015. Until then, a temporary facility, which will be readied by September, will be used for that function.

The utility also revised its expectations for the largest tsunami that could possibly hit. Since such a tsunami would fall below the height of the plant site, no coastal levee will be required.

The No. 3 reactor will be used in plutonium-thermal (pluthermal) power generation, which burns mixed oxide (MOX) fuel containing plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel. The reactor had used such fuel before the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Of the 12 reactors that have had applications submitted, the two at Genkai have comparatively fewer issues to deal with since there are no active faults within the plant site and the risk of tsunami is low.

The Genkai reactors, therefore, are considered among those that have progressed the most in implementing safety measures, along with the No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture operated by Shikoku Electric Power Co.

A key issue in resuming operations at the Genkai reactors will be obtaining the consent of local governments.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority on July 16 will begin its evaluation of the applications submitted for the 10 reactors on July 8. Although the evaluation of the applications for the Genkai reactors will begin later, those reactors will be considered part of the first group of reactors seeking to resume operations.

By JIN NISHIKAWA/ Staff Writer
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Protesters hold up various signs outside of the Prime Minister's office on July 12 opposing the resumption of nuclear plant operations and calling for a move away from nuclear energy. (Satoru Ogawa)

Protesters hold up various signs outside of the Prime Minister's office on July 12 opposing the resumption of nuclear plant operations and calling for a move away from nuclear energy. (Satoru Ogawa)

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  • Protesters hold up various signs outside of the Prime Minister's office on July 12 opposing the resumption of nuclear plant operations and calling for a move away from nuclear energy. (Satoru Ogawa)

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