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Sendai reactor fuel to be loaded from July 7

Officials at the Sendai nuclear power plant in southwestern Japan say they plan to start loading fuel into one of the reactors next Tuesday.

The Kyushu Electric Power Company reported the plan to the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Friday. Earlier the same day, pre-loading inspections were completed at the Number 1 reactor.

The utility expects it will take 4 days to insert 157 nuclear fuel assemblies into the reactor. Workers will use a crane to transfer the fuel rods one by one from a storage pool in an adjacent building.

Kyushu Electric will then check emergency equipment to inject coolant into the reactor and a device to insert control rods.

Workers will also undergo a drill to rehearse their response to a severe accident.

If all goes as planned, the utility will remove the control rods to activate the reactor in mid-August.

The Sendai plant’s Number 1 and Number 2 reactors became the first to clear safety screenings last year.

The screenings were required under the country’s new, stricter regulations introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

The Number 1 reactor began undergoing equipment inspections in late March ahead of the Number 2 reactor.

All of Japan’s 43 reactors are currently offline.

Source: NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150703_36.html

July 3, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | 1 Comment

Experts slam closed-door nuclear briefings

A panel of experts has criticized Japan’s industry ministry for discussing its new policy for disposing of high-level nuclear waste in closed-door sessions.

The ministry-appointed experts said at a meeting on Friday their call for information disclosure on the basic waste disposal policy has fallen on deaf ears.

They also said that holding sessions behind closed doors could have a negative impact on the issue.

The government decided in May to select prospective sites for burying high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants and to ask local authorities for their cooperation in building the facilities.

The new policy was implemented following 13 years of failed efforts to solicit candidate sites due to strong safety concerns.

The ministry said it decided to hold closed-door briefings so that local government officials would feel free to speak out.

The ministry had held briefings in 39 prefectures by the end of June. They were attended by nearly 70 percent of local authorities nationwide. But some refused to attend to protest the closed-door policy.

The head of the panel, Hiroya Masuda, said the ministry must convince local authorities that the briefings don’t necessarily indicate candidacy for waste disposal sites. 

Source: NHK 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150703_31.html

July 3, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Fukushima rejects briefing for nuclear waste site

Japan’s industry ministry is holding briefing sessions across the country. It’s struggling to secure disposal sites for high-level radioactive waste generated by nuclear plants.

But it will skip the session in Fukushima Prefecture, at least for now, due to strong opposition there.

The government plans to bury high-level radioactive waste at a depth of 300 meters or more in final disposal facilities. But the effort to solicit candidate sites has made no progress because of strong safety concerns among municipalities.

In May, the industry ministry decided to name appropriate candidate sites instead of waiting for municipalities to voluntarily apply.
Since then, it has been holding briefing sessions in 39 prefectures over how to process the highly radioactive waste and how it will select appropriate sites, to deepen understanding of the facilities.

But officials in Fukushima Prefecture rejected the ministry’s request to hold such a session. They cited the burden of the on-going scrapping of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

They also referred to building of intermediate storage facilities in the prefecture for contaminated soil and other materials from cleaning-up work in Fukushima. 

Source: NHK

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/201507

July 3, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment