OMAEZAKI, Shizuoka Prefecture--Chubu Electric Power Co. has reported progress in its effort to heighten the breakwater at its Hamaoka nuclear power plant, a requirement to bring the facility back online.
The utility showed reporters Dec. 19 the construction site where it is adding an additional four meters of steel plates to the existing breakwater to prevent a future tsunami from damaging the plant.
Chubu Electric originally completed an 18-meter-tall barrier stretching 1.6 kilometers to protect the plant in December 2012. However, it decided to heighten the structure after a Cabinet Office panel predicted a major quake in a worst-case scenario could trigger a 19-meter tsunami along the Pacific coast.
The tsunami generated by the Great East Japan Earthquake that caused reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011 was about 13 meters high.
The Cabinet Office's report predicted a major quake along the Nankai Trough, an underwater trench stretching from Suruga Bay off Shizuoka Prefecture along Japan’s Pacific coastline to Kyushu, could strike the region within decades.
By satisfying the new regulatory standards against tsunami and other disasters, the utility hopes to restart at least one reactor soon after the barriers are completed in September 2015.
The company is expected to apply to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for a safety review of the No. 4 reactor by the end of March as one of the steps toward its eventual restart.
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