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JAPC denies granting local prior consent for Tokai reactor restart

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The Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, which is operated by the Japan Atomic Power Co.
January 8, 2019
Although telling six municipalities they have the right to prior consent before restarting the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant, operator Japan Atomic Power Co. (JAPC) is apparently reneging on that promise.
JAPC reached a draft agreement with the local governments to obtain their consent before restarting the Tokai No. 2 plant reactor in Ibaraki Prefecture, according to documents from Naka in the prefecture.
The documents, obtained by The Asahi Shimbun through an information disclosure request, detail the six years of negotiations between JAPC and the six local governments and a new safety agreement reached in March 2018.
The six are Tokai village, which hosts the plant, and the five surrounding cities of Hitachi, Hitachinaka, Naka, Hitachiota and Mito.
However, when asked by The Asahi Shimbun if the agreement contained a clause that JAPC would obtain prior consent from the six municipal governments on the restart, the company replied “No.” The six municipalities said the right to prior consent had been agreed upon.
JAPC has apparently changed its stance.
The new safety agreement, concluded on March 29, 2018, stipulates that when JAPC seeks to restart the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant or extend its operation, it will effectively obtain prior approval from Tokai village and five surrounding municipalities.
The apparent break from tradition to give surrounding local municipalities the right of prior consent drew widespread attention as the “Ibaraki method.”
The concept of working out an agreement started in February 2012 when the heads of the six municipalities met to discuss nuclear power and local vitalization.
Tatsuya Murakami, then Tokai village chief, talked about the wide-ranging effects from the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
He said that the issue of whether to allow a restart of the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant couldn’t be decided by Tokai village alone and that it was necessary for surrounding municipalities to have the same right.
However, JAPC rejected the proposal, saying that it needed to maintain a consistent approach with another nuclear plant it operates.
The negotiations continued, and in March 2017 the circumstances changed. In a meeting held that month, JAPC President Mamoru Muramatsu proposed a new safety agreement to the six municipalities.
As for their prior consent, he said, “We’ve determined that we can’t restart the nuclear plant until we obtain consent from the municipalities.”
The municipalities asked Muramatsu if that effectively meant they had the right to “prior consent.”
The JAPC president replied, “That’s correct.”
On Nov. 22, 2017, JAPC presented a new safety agreement, which included “effective prior consent,” in a meeting of the heads of the municipalities.
The municipalities again asked whether they had the right to prior consent. A JAPC official replied, “Yes.”
On Nov. 24, 2017, JAPC applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for a 20-year extension of the operation of the nuclear plant. The deadline for the application was Nov. 28, 2017.
On Nov. 7, 2018, immediately after the NRA approved the 20-year extension, however, JAPC Vice President Nobutaka Wachi said, “The word ‘veto power’ can’t be found anywhere in the new agreement.”
The remark caused a backlash from the six municipalities, and Wachi apologized for his remark. However, relations between JAPC and the municipalities have deteriorated.
In the fall of 2018, The Asahi Shimbun conducted a survey of JAPC and the six municipalities. It asked them, “Is there anything in writing that states that JAPC must obtain prior consent from the six municipal governments in the new agreement?”
In response, JAPC said, “No.” A JAPC official explained, “The new agreement is a plan to effectively obtain prior consent from the six municipalities (by continuing to talk thoroughly with them until they grant their consent).”
The Asahi Shimbun told JAPC that official documents have a description that can be interpreted as granting the municipalities the right to prior consent.
The JAPC official said, “We will refrain from making a comment about the content of discussions from closed meetings.”
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January 9, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Ikata NPP’s reactor to restart as Hiroshima court judges volcanic erution frequency to be extremely low

Ruling puts onus on anti-nuclear plaintiffs citing volcanic risks

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Lawyer Hiroyuki Kawai, center, explains the Hiroshima High Court’s decision on Sept. 25 to lift a temporary injunction barring operations of the Ikata nuclear plant.
September 26, 2018
HIROSHIMA–The Hiroshima High Court has significantly raised the bar for plaintiffs seeking suspensions of nuclear plant operations on grounds of a possible volcanic eruption.
In a ruling handed down on Sept. 25, the court overturned a temporary injunction order that had halted operations at the Ikata nuclear plant, saying the plaintiffs must present highly credible evidence of the risk of a catastrophic volcanic eruption.
The plaintiffs argued that Shikoku Electric Power Co. must suspend operations of its Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture because of the dangers posed by Mount Aso in central Kyushu, Japan’s southern main island.
They said a pyroclastic flow from the volcano would reach the plant about 130 kilometers away in the event of an eruption on a scale similar to one that occurred about 90,000 years ago.
But the high court dismissed their argument by referring to “socially accepted ideas.”
“The frequency of such an eruption is extremely low,” Presiding Judge Masayuki Miki said. “The government has not taken any measures to deal with it, and a large majority of the public don’t see the risks of a major eruption as a problem, either.”
He added, “Unless the court is given reasonable grounds for the possibility of a major eruption, it is a socially accepted idea that the safety of a facility will not be undermined even if measures are not in place to prepare for such a scenario.”
The ruling was based on an assessment issued in March by the Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority that risks to nuclear facilities from a catastrophic volcanic eruption are within a socially acceptable range.
Kenta Tsunasaki, one of the plaintiffs, said he was appalled by the ruling.
“We are again witnessing the exact same attitude toward a massive eruption of a volcano,” he said, referring to the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that caused the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. “The judiciary must have forgotten about the Fukushima disaster.”
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant operator, has argued that the scale of the tsunami that struck the nuclear complex could not be foreseen.
Many volcanologists agree that catastrophic eruptions rarely occur.
But Yoshiyuki Tatsumi, professor of volcanology at Kobe University, questioned the court’s dismissal of the possibility of a huge eruption.
“The low occurrence does not assure safety,” he said. “A catastrophic eruption is one of the worst disasters in terms of the degree of danger, which is calculated by multiplying the expected number of victims and the rate of occurrence.”
Tatsumi also said it is difficult to predict when Mount Aso will have a major eruption because its eruption cycle is irregular.
(This article was compiled from reports by Sotaro Hata, Toshio Kawada and Shigeko Segawa.)

 

Reactor can restart in Japan after little risk seen from volcano

Shikoku Electric plans to resume operations at the Ikata plant in October
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The No. 3 unit at the Ikata power plant in Ehime Prefecture
September 25, 2018
OSAKA — A Japanese court ruled Tuesday that a nuclear reactor operated by Shikoku Electric Power could restart, clearing the way for it to join the small handful of nuclear facilities that have resumed operating following a catastrophic earthquake in 2011. 
The Hiroshima High Court overturned Tuesday its own provisional injunction from December, accepting the utility’s claim that a volcano in the vicinity poses little risk.
Following the decision, Shikoku Electric said it will restart the No. 3 unit at its Ikata power plant in Ehime Prefecture on Oct. 27.
High courts have often overruled suspensions handed down by district courts. Examples include the Nos. 3 and 4 units at Kansai Electric Power’s Oi and Takahama plants in Fukui Prefecture. With the Hiroshima high court’s decision, all reactors that had temporary suspension orders on them are able to restart.
The chief issue in the Ikata case was whether a nearby caldera of Mt. Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture is at risk of erupting.
“No proof has been shown of the possibility that a large-scale, catastrophic eruption will occur, and the likelihood that [lava flows] will reach the reactor is sufficiently low,” the court said in its ruling Tuesday.
But the restart could be stopped again by an Oita District Court decision due Friday on another provisional injunction to halt the Ikata unit.
The 890-megawatt No. 3 reactor is one of five across three plants nationwide to restart under standards introduced after the 2011 tsunami. It resumed operations in August 2016, but was halted in October 2017 for routine inspections. The shutdown has cost Shikoku Electric about 30 billion yen ($266 million), the company said.

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Hiroshima High Court signs off on restart of reactor at Shikoku Electric’s Ikata nuclear power plant

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Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata nuclear power plant is seen in Ehime Prefecture.
 
Sept. 25, 2018
HIROSHIMA – The Hiroshima High Court on Tuesday accepted an appeal by Shikoku Electric Power Co. allowing it to restart a halted reactor at its Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture, saying worries over a volcanic eruption damaging the plant are groundless.
The decision is an about-face from its earlier provisional injunction that demanded the utility halt the No. 3 unit at the plant until the end of this month, citing safety risks associated with potential volcanic activity in a nearby prefecture.
The temporary suspension order, issued last December following a request from a local opposition group, marked the first case in which a high court had prohibited operations at a nuclear plant since the 2011 triple meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant led to a nationwide halt of such plants.
Presiding Judge Masayuki Miki said in the ruling, “There is no reason to believe in the possibility of a destructive volcanic eruption during the plant’s operating period and there is only a small chance of volcanic ash and rocks reaching the plant,” which is about 130 kilometers away.
Following the court’s decision, Shikoku Electric said it will reboot the No. 3 reactor on Oct. 27. The unit has been idle for maintenance since October last year.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority, the country’s nuclear watchdog, said, “Drawing on the lessons learned from the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, we will continue to impose strict regulations based on scientific and technical knowledge.”
Separately, residents in nearby Oita, Kagawa and Yamaguchi prefectures have also been seeking to stop the reactor in pending court cases. The Oita District Court is scheduled to hand down a decision on Friday.
In addition, a request to extend the period of the injunction beyond Sunday has been filed with the Hiroshima District Court.
In the injunction, the high court had said the power company underestimated the risks of heated rocks and volcanic ash reaching the plant if a big eruption occurs at Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture.
That decision constituted a major victory for the nation’s anti-nuclear movement and dealt a blow to the central government and utility firms, which are hoping to bring more reactors back online.
Shikoku Electric claimed in the appeal that it believes there is a “low possibility” of the volcano having a large-scale eruption while the reactor is in operation.
Plaintiffs, however, argued that the resumption of operations at the plant is “unreasonable” because of a “high risk of an accident.”

September 27, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Trouble-hit nuclear reactor in southwestern Japan resumes operations

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In this Nov. 6, 2016 file photo, from left, the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Genkai Nuclear Power Plant are seen from a Mainichi helicopter in Saga Prefecture
 
 
June 16, 2018
FUKUOKA (Kyodo) — A nuclear reactor at a trouble-hit complex in southwestern Japan restarted operations Saturday for the first time in more than six and a half years amid lingering safety concerns.
The No. 4 unit at the Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture is the fourth reactor of operator Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s to go back online and the ninth nationwide under stricter safety rules implemented after the Fukushima crisis in 2011. The utility aims to generate and supply electricity from Wednesday and start commercial operations in mid-July.
The restart sparked local protests, with around 100 people gathering in front of the plant.
Hajime Aoki, an 80-year-old farmer living about 6 kilometers away from the plant, said, “Everyone knows that nuclear plants are dangerous. If I think about the Fukushima nuclear accident, I certainly cannot agree to this.”
Recognizing the opposition of the local residents, Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi promised to deal with the issue seriously, while Michiaki Uriu, president of Kyushu Electric, separately said the plant’s operation will proceed by taking into account “safety as a top priority.”
At the same time, there were some residents who said that while they were worried about plant safety, they also saw the economic benefits to having such plants in the area.
The restart comes after the Genkai complex has been mired in troubles. In May, pumps installed to control the circulation of cooling water at the No. 4 unit suffered malfunctions, following a steam leak from a pipe at the No. 3 reactor just a week after it was reactivated in March.
Kyushu Electric estimates cost savings of 11 billion yen ($100 million) per month due to the restarts of the No. 3-4 units at Genkai, as this will reduce its reliance on thermal power generation.
The No. 4 unit, which began undergoing a regular checkup in December 2011, won approval for restart by the Nuclear Regulation Authority in January 2017 under the tougher rules implemented after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi complex, triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Some local residents opposed to the Genkai plant’s operation question the validity of safety standards and cite the risk of volcanic eruptions in the region. The Saga District Court rejected in March a request for an injunction to suspend the plant’s restart.

June 22, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

No. 4 reactor at Oi nuclear plant restarted after nearly five years offline

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Oi nuclear power plant’s No. 4 reactor (far left) in Fukui Prefecture is seen on Wednesday before being restarted by Kansai Electric Power Co.
May 10, 2018
OI, FUKUI PREF. – Kansai Electric Power Co.’s No. 4 reactor at its Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture inched closer toward running at full capacity Thursday, four years and eight months after operations were suspended.
The reactor has reached criticality, its nuclear fission chain reaction having reached a self-sustaining state, and is set to begin power generation and transmission Friday. It is projected to reach full capacity early next week.
The reactor, which was halted in September 2013 for regular checkups, is the eighth to have been reactivated under the country’s new safety standards for nuclear plants. The new standards were introduced in the wake of the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Kansai Electric plans to put the No. 4 reactor into commercial mode in early June and cut its electricity prices this summer.
Commercial operations of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Oi plant are projected to help reduce the firm’s fuel costs by about ¥120 billion a year. The No. 3 unit was brought back online in March this year and entered commercial mode in April.
The utility lowered its electricity rates for households by 3.15 percent on average in August 2017, after it resumed commercial operations of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at its Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture.
As each of the two Oi reactors has a capacity of 1.18 million kilowatts — larger than the 870,000 kilowatt capacity of each of the Takahama reactors — the forthcoming rate cut may be more significant than the previous one and could bring the company’s electricity prices down to levels from before the Fukushima nuclear accident, industry observers said.
Kansai Electric owns 11 reactors — four each at the Oi and Takahama plants, and three at the Mihama plant, also in Fukui Prefecture.
Besides the four currently in operation, the Mihama No. 1 and No. 2 units and the Oi No. 1 and No. 2 units are set to be decommissioned. The Mihama No. 3 unit and the Takahama No. 1 and No. 2 units are undergoing work to allow them to continue to operate after reaching 40 years of service.
With the Oi and Takahama plants located as little as 13.5 kilometers from each other, the plant operator has been urged to draw up measures that should be taken in case accidents occur at the same time at the two facilities.
This summer the government plans to carry out a comprehensive anti-disaster drill assuming simultaneous accidents.

May 12, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Ohi No.4 reactor restarted

Japan’s 8th reactor is back online. Kansai Electric Power Company on Wednesday restarted a reactor at the Ohi plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan.
 
At the plant, workers pulled out the control rods that suppress atomic fission of the No.4 reactor.
 
The facility is expected to reach criticality early Thursday, begin power generation and transmission on Friday and go into commercial operation in early June.
 
The reactor had complied with new government regulations put in place following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
 
Two months earlier, the utility reactivated the No.3 reactor at the plant. Two more reactors are running at its Takahama plant about 13 kilometers west of Ohi.
 
Although they all passed the government’s new regulations, attention is now focused on the threat of multiple accidents at these plants in the event of an earthquake and tsunami.
 
This summer, the government plans to hold its first drill based on a scenario that accidents have occurred simultaneously at the Ohi and Takahama plants.
 
In 2014, the Fukui District Court ruled against putting the No.3 and No.4 reactors at Ohi back online. It said estimated tremors of possible quakes at the plant are too optimistic. The ruling was appealed to a higher court, which has yet to decide the issue.
 

 

May 10, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Coastal nuclear reactor resumes operations, joins 2 units nearby

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The No. 1 to No. 4 reactors (from top to bottom) at the Oi Nuclear Power Plant are seen from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter, in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, on March 14, 2018.
March 14, 2018
FUKUI, Japan (Kyodo) — Kansai Electric Power Co. restarted Wednesday a reactor at its Oi plant on the Sea of Japan coast, located close to two other units already online, amid lingering safety concerns following the Fukushima disaster.
 
It is the first time that multiple nuclear reactors within the same vicinity have been in operation since the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
 
The No. 3 reactor at the Oi plant is a mere 14 kilometers from the No. 3 and 4 units at the Takahama plant, all in the central Japan prefecture of Fukui.
 
Local residents are worried about the lack of an effective evacuation plan in the event accidents hit both the Takahama and Oi complexes at the same time.
 
The No. 3 Oi unit is the sixth reactor to resume operations in Japan after clearing stricter safety regulations implemented in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
 
The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, seeing nuclear power as an “important base-load power source,” is promoting the restart of nuclear reactors considered safe by regulators.
 
Under the current national energy policy, the government plans to generate between 20 and 22 percent of total electricity using nuclear power in fiscal 2030.
 
Kansai Electric aims to start commercial operations of the No. 3 Oi reactor in early April. The No. 4 reactor at the Oi plant is also expected to restart in May, having cleared the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety review along with the No. 3 unit in May 2017.
 

March 16, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Nuclear Regulator Not Agreeing to Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP Reactor Restart Plans

Nuclear regulator does dizzying U-turn on TEPCO reactor restart plans

Screenshot from 2017-09-08 00-09-16.pngFrom left, the No. 5, 6 and 7 reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant are seen in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, in this April 21, 2016 file photo.

 

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the utility responsible for the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and its March 2011 triple meltdown, is aiming to get the reactors at its other power plants back on line.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which must approve any restarts, had been holding to a very strict line on TEPCO applications. However, on Sept. 6 the NRA abruptly changed track, taking a more sympathetic attitude and indicating that the No. 6 and 7 reactors at the utility’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture would likely pass their safety inspections — a prerequisite for restart approval.

Despite the NRA’s suddenly sunny attitude, the prefectural government has not budged from its more cautious position. And TEPCO, which has made the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant a chief pillar of its business recovery plans, cannot flip the reactors’ “on” switch without the prefecture’s imprimatur, meaning the plant still has no clear restart schedule.

When the NRA summoned TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa and other top managers on July 10 this year to testify on the utility’s competence to keep running nuclear plants, authority chairman Shunichi Tanaka was unequivocal and unforgiving.

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Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka speaks to the Mainichi Shimbun during an Aug. 29, 2017 interview. (Mainichi)

“If TEPCO is unwilling or unable to finalize the decommissioning of the Fukushima (No. 1 station) reactors, it is simply not qualified to restart the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant,” Tanaka told the executives, adding, “I don’t see TEPCO showing any independent initiative whatsoever.”

The NRA chairman was referring to the longstanding problems with contaminated water and radioactive waste disposal plaguing TEPCO’s Fukushima plant decommissioning efforts. The utility tends to focus too much on trying to read the government’s mind on any and all Fukushima issues — an attitude that has long drawn NRA criticism.

When the NRA inspected the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant’s No. 6 and 7 reactors, it added a new evaluation category to the usual technological checklist, though it was not part of the new safety standards: “eligibility.” That is, TEPCO’s eligibility to run a nuclear power plant at all. After all, it was one of TEPCO’s plants that had succumbed to the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. “TEPCO is different from other (power) companies,” Tanaka had said.

TEPCO President Kobayakawa and Chairman Takashi Kawamura are also a source of NRA concern. The two had no role in the utility’s response to the 2011 meltdowns, and Kobayakawa replaced a much more experienced hand in Naomi Hirose, a TEPCO managing director when the disaster struck. After his NRA dressing-down in July, Kobayakawa apparently visited the Fukushima disaster zone seven times.

However, there has been an apparent U-turn in Tanaka’s stance. A document submitted on Aug. 25 to the NRA under Kobayakawa’s name was sewn with phrases like, “We will carry the (Fukushima) reactor decommissioning through to the end,” and other terms suggesting a determined TEPCO attitude. At the same time, the document was bereft of details on specific preparedness measures or progress benchmarks for the decommissioning work.

Nevertheless, when Kobayakawa again appeared before the NRA on Aug. 30, the body indicated its acceptance of TEPCO’s position. Taking the contaminated water problem “as one example,” Tanaka stated that he recognized TEPCO’s lack of concrete countermeasure planning couldn’t be helped under the circumstances. One NRA executive revealed to the Mainichi Shimbun, “We avoided demanding a detailed (disposal measures) plan because we don’t legally have that authority, and doing so could pose legal risks.”

Pro-TEPCO sentiment was on conspicuous display when the NRA met again on Sept. 6, including acting Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa’s declaration that he “felt TEPCO’s drive to pass on the lessons of the (Fukushima nuclear) accident.”

Committee member Nobuhiko Ban stated that while the document the utility had submitted in the summer was a “declaration of intent,” he was “concerned over whether this alone can constitute eligibility” to run a nuclear plant. However, Tanaka wrapped up discussion by saying that “circumstances are not such that we can deny (TEPCO’s) eligibility.”

Tanaka will leave his NRA post on Sept. 18 after completing his five-year term in the chairmanship, and at a post-meeting news conference he was asked if he had wanted to bring the TEPCO issue to a close while in office.

“I can’t say that I’ve never felt that way,” Tanaka replied.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170907/p2a/00m/0na/019000c

NRA doubts TEPCO’s safety vow in Niigata, plans legal move

Screenshot from 2017-09-08 00-11-58.pngTokyo Electric Power Co. wants to restart the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors, shown in the forefront, at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture.

 

The Nuclear Regulation Authority, skeptical of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s promise to put safety ahead of profits, plans to gain legal assurances before allowing the embattled utility to start operating nuclear reactors again.

TEPCO has applied to restart two reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture, which would be the first run by the company since the disaster unfolded at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in March 2011.

Although NRA members agreed that the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant passed new regulations on technological aspects, they could not agree on whether the company has learned its lessons about safety management since the triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant.

To ensure TEPCO will put safety at the forefront of its operations, the NRA is considering holding the utility legally responsible for completing the entire decommissioning process of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

The regulator expects to draft a checklist to verify the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant’s safety and other steps before it makes a final decision on whether to allow TEPCO to restart the reactors. The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 13.

The NRA had previously determined that 12 reactors at six nuclear plants met new nuclear reactor regulations shortly after completion of their technological examinations.

The NRA also finished its technological examinations of the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors, the newest ones at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

The plant has seven reactors, making it one of the largest nuclear power stations in the world. The two reactors that TEPCO wants to put online each has a capacity of 1.36 gigawatts.

TEPCO has said the resumption of the reactors are needed to turn around its business fortunes.

But NRA commissioners are reluctant to allow TEPCO to bring the plant online based solely on the results of the technological screening.

After the chairman and president of the utility were replaced in June, the NRA summoned the new top executives in July.

The watchdog demanded that they give a written response to the regulator’s position that TEPCO “is not qualified to operate the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, given the seeming lack of determination and spotty track record to take the initiative in decommissioning (the Fukushima No. 1 plant).”

In August, the company submitted a paper to the NRA promising to “take the initiative in addressing the problem of victims of the nuclear disaster and to fulfill the task to decommission the plant.”

The paper also said the company “has no intention whatsoever to place economic performance over safety at the (Kashiwazaki-Kariwa) plant.”

Tomoaki Kobayakawa, the new president of TEPCO, called the paper a “promise to the public.”

Although the NRA commissioners on Sept. 6 recognized TEPCO’s commitment to safety to a certain degree, doubts remained.

Nobuhiko Ban, an NRA member who is a specialist on radiological protection, called for a system that would keep TEPCO committed to safety management in the future.

Is it all right for us to take TEPCO’s vow at face value?” he said.

The NRA then decided to consider legal ways to hold TEPCO accountable for safety issues.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709070026.html

September 7, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Sendai Reactor Back Online

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Workers in the control room restart reactor 1 at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture Thursday night

Sendai reactor goes back online

Operators have powered on a nuclear reactor at a plant in western Japan on Thursday night after 2 months of inspections.
Officials at Kyushu Electric Power Company say workers have begun pulling control rods out of the Number One reactor at their Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.
The reactor has been offline since October. Before that, it operated for 14 months as the first reactor in the country to go online under new regulations following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
The utility says it found no abnormalities during its regular and special inspections.
The special checks were added at the request of Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono, who took office in July. He asked the utility to see if strong earthquakes that occurred at nearby Kumamoto Prefecture in April had affected the plant.
Officials say they expect the reactor to reach criticality on Friday and begin transmitting electricity to the grid on Sunday. They also expect the plant to resume commercial operations in early January.
A group opposing the restart held a rally on Thursday outside the facility. Group leader Yoshitaka Mukohara said a proposed prefectural panel should first give a judgment before the reactor is brought online.
Governor Mitazono had promised to set up an expert panel to look into the reactor’s safety, but it has yet to be launched. Mukohara urged the governor to stick to his position.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161208_30/

Kyushu Electric fires up Kagoshima reactor after governor gives OK

FUKUOKA – Kyushu Electric Power Co. restarted a nuclear reactor in Kagoshima Prefecture on Thursday after the prefectural governor, who is opposed to nuclear power, effectively permitted the move last week.

Reactor No. 1 at the Sendai nuclear power complex is one of five reactors to have been reactivated under stricter safety regulations adopted in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima reactor meltdowns. Following resumption in August 2015, its operation had been suspended for a regular checkup since Oct. 6.

The utility pulled out control rods from the reactor at around 9:30 p.m. The reactor is expected to achieve criticality by Friday morning and to start power generation from Sunday. Commercial operation is set to resume from Jan. 6.

Kyushu Electric on Tuesday notified Kagoshima Gov. Satoshi Mitazono of the planned restart of the reactor and was not requested to suspend it this time, it said.

Mitazono, who was elected in July on an anti-nuclear platform, asked the utility in August and September to immediately suspend operation of the plant. Reactor No. 1 came to a halt in October for a regular checkup.

The Sendai complex’s reactor No. 2 is scheduled to be suspended for regular checks from Dec. 16 to Feb. 27.

Mitazono had told the prefectural assembly earlier this month that he had no legal power to decide whether to restart the reactor, paving the way for the latest move.

On Thursday, however, Mitazono said that he will take “strong action, regardless of the reactor’s operation,” if an experts’ committee, which he plans to set up to examine safety at the plant, finds any safety problems.

Some 30 local residents and anti-nuclear group members gathered in front of the Sendai plant Thursday morning to protest the reactivation.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/09/national/kyushu-electric-fires-kagoshima-reactor-governor-gives-grudging-nod/#.WEp11lzia-d

December 9, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Kyushu Electric Restarts Sendai Nuclear Reactor

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FUKUOKA (Kyodo) — Kyushu Electric Power Co. restarted a nuclear reactor in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Kagoshima on Thursday after the prefectural governor, who is opposed to nuclear power, effectively permitted the move last week.
The No.1 reactor at the Sendai nuclear power complex is one of five reactors to have been reactivated under stricter safety regulations adopted in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Following resumption in August 2015, its operation had been suspended for a regular checkup since Oct. 6.
The utility pulled out control rods from the reactor at around 9:30 p.m. The reactor is expected to achieve criticality by Friday morning and to start power generation from Sunday. Commercial operation is set to resume from Jan. 6.
Kyushu Electric on Tuesday notified Kagoshima Gov. Satoshi Mitazono of the planned restart of the reactor and was not requested to suspend it this time, it said.
Mitazono, who was elected in July on an antinuclear platform, asked the utility in August and September to immediately suspend operation of the plant. The No. 1 reactor came to a halt in October for a regular checkup.
The Sendai complex’s No.2 reactor is scheduled to be suspended for regular checks from Dec. 16 to Feb. 27.
Mitazono had told a prefectural assembly earlier this month that he had no legal power to decide whether or not to restart the reactor, paving the way for the latest move.
On Thursday, however, Mitazono said that he will take “strong action, regardless of the reactor’s operation,” if an experts’ committee, which he plans to set up to examine safety at the plant, finds any safety problems.
Some 30 local residents and antinuclear group members gathered in front of the Sendai plant Thursday morning to protest the reactivation.

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December 9, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Kagoshima governor under fire after effectively accepting restart of nuclear reactor

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Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono on Nov. 28 explains to the prefectural assembly why he has requested a budget to form a committee of experts on nuclear power generation.

Governor under fire as Sendai nuclear reactor likely to restart

KAGOSHIMA—Anti-nuclear activists are castigating Governor Satoshi Mitazono, saying the politician has retreated from his campaign promises regarding the planned restart of a nuclear reactor in the prefecture.

Despite stressing that he would take a hard look at safety issues, Mitazono’s actions on Nov. 28 indicate that Kyushu Electric Power Co. will be allowed to restart the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai plant on Dec. 8 as was expected.

What he had done over the past months now appears to be a mere publicity stunt,” said Yukio Taira, chief of a confederation of labor unions in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Taira withdrew his candidacy in the governor’s race in July after he and Mitazono agreed on many policy measures toward a temporary halt of operations at the nuclear plant in Satsuma-Sendai.

Mitazono on Nov. 28 submitted to the prefectural assembly a budget proposal for establishing an expert panel on nuclear power generation–a centerpiece of his campaign pledges.

I will make a comprehensive judgment on how to respond when the panel releases its findings of the utility’s reports on ‘special checks,’” Mitazono told the assembly session, referring to the reactor restart plan.

However, given that a governor does not have the legal authority to order a halt, the No. 1 reactor will probably already be running by the time those findings are released.

The assembly is expected to vote on the budget request for the panel on Dec. 16. Kyushu Electric is scheduled to release the outcome of its special checks in early January.

The utility agreed to carry out the additional checks in response to the new governor’s concerns. These inspections, including checking bolts fastened on barrels containing nuclear waste, are nothing new and have been done in the past, according to Kyushu Electric.

Two reactors at the Sendai plant were the first in the nation to go online under new nuclear safety regulations set up after the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture.

The No. 1 reactor has been shut down for maintenance since October. The No. 2 reactor is scheduled to be taken offline in December for a routine inspection.

Mitazono, a former TV journalist, was elected on campaign promises to take a “strong response regarding a reactor restart if the envisaged committee deems the plant unsafe.”

Concerns over the safety of the nuclear complex arose when roads and other infrastructure were damaged in a series of powerful quakes that began rattling neighboring Kumamoto Prefecture in April.

After gaining support from anti-nuclear groups, Mitazono won the race against the incumbent, who was seen as friendlier toward nuclear power generation.

But after he took office, Mitazono appeared to back off from his campaign promises.

He did request an “immediate halt” of plant operations to Michiaki Uriu, president of Kyushu Electric, in late August and early September.

After the company refused the governor’s requests, Mitazono decided not to pursue the issue, saying a governor does not have the legal authority to demand a halt to operations.

He tried to assuage public concerns about the safety of the plant, citing the extra special checks the utility promised to conduct.

Taira said Mitazono has rejected repeated requests for a meeting with him and other anti-nuclear activists. They have asked Mitazono to quickly establish the expert panel for possible action to counter Kyushu Electric’s reactor restart plans. But the governor did not reply.

Mitazono also did not submit a budget request for the expert panel in the September session.

When asked by reporters, Mitazono merely kept saying he would establish the panel “as soon as possible.”

He is breaking the campaign promise if he allows the resumption of the plant without obtaining the conclusion of the panel,” Taira said.

According to one source, the governor told an informal gathering of members of the Liberal Democratic Party, the largest group in the assembly, that he shares the LDP’s direction in nuclear power policy.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201611290066.html

Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono on Nov. 28 explains to the prefectural assembly why he has requested a budget to form a committee of experts on nuclear power generation,

Kagoshima governor effectively accepts restart of nuclear reactor

KAGOSHIMA — Gov. Satoshi Mitazono on Nov. 28 effectively expressed his approval for the restart of the No. 1 reactor at the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Satsumasendai, which is undergoing inspections.
The governor said that he will draw a conclusion on operation of the No. 1 reactor after the completion of special checks that are concurrently being performed by the plant’s operator, Kyushu Electric Power Co. Since the special checks include items that are to be completed after the reactor is scheduled to resume operation on Dec. 8, the governor’s comments indicate that he accepts reactivation of the reactor.

In a prefectural assembly meeting on Nov. 28, the governor presented a supplementary budget draft for December that earmarked 3 million yen to set up an inspection committee to probe the safety of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant and the appropriateness of evacuation plans. In explaining this, he stated, “We will have the inspection committee verify and confirm a report on the result of the special check to be submitted by Kyushu Electric Power Co. and make a comprehensive decision based on its conclusions.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161129/p2a/00m/0na/008000c

December 1, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima aftershock renews public concern about restarting Kansai’s aging nuclear reactors

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KYOTO – The magnitude-7.4 aftershock that rocked Fukushima Prefecture and its vicinity last week, more than five years after the mega-quake and tsunami of March 2011, triggered fresh nuclear concerns in the Kansai region, which hosts Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The aftershock came as the Nuclear Regulation Authority approved a two-decade extension for Mihama’s No. 3 reactor on Nov. 16, allowing it and two others that have already been approved to run for as long as 60 years to provide electricity to the Kansai region.

Residents need to live with the fact that they are close to the Fukui reactors, which are at least 40 years old. Despite reassurances by Kepco, its operator, and the nuclear watchdog, worries remain over what would happen if an earthquake similar to the one in 2011, or even last week, hit the Kansai region.

Kyoto lies about 60 km and Osaka about 110 km from the old Fukui plants. Lake Biwa, which provides water to about 13 million people, is less than 60 km away.

In addition to Kepco’s 40-year-old Mihama No. 3, reactors 1 and 2 at the Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui are 42 and 41 years old, respectively.

In the event of an accident, evacuation procedures for about 253,000 residents of Fukui, Shiga, and Kyoto prefectures who are within 30 km of the plants would go into effect.

But how effective might they be?

The majority does not live in Fukui. Just over half, or 128,500, live in neighboring Kyoto, especially in and around the port city of Maizuru, home to a Self-Defense Forces base. Another 67,000 live in four towns in Fukui and about 58,000 live in northern Shiga Prefecture.

Plans call for Fukui and Kyoto prefecture residents to evacuate to 29 cities and 12 towns in Hyogo Prefecture and, if facilities there are overwhelmed, to Tokushima Prefecture in Shikoku. Those in Shiga are supposed to evacuate to cities and towns in Osaka Prefecture.

In a scenario put together by Kyoto Prefecture three years ago, it was predicted that tens of thousands of people would take to available roads in the event of an nuclear accident. A 100 percent evacuation of everyone within 30 km of a stricken Fukui plant was estimated to take between 15 and 29 hours, depending on how much damage there was to the transportation infrastructure.

But Kansai-based anti-nuclear activists have criticized local evacuation plans as being unrealistic for several reasons.

First, they note that the region around the plants gets a lot of snow in the winter, which could render roads, even if still intact after a quake or other disaster, much more difficult to navigate, slowing evacuations even further.

Second is the radiation screening process that has been announced in official local plans drawn up by Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures.

While automobiles would be stopped at various checkpoints along the roads leading out of Fukui and given radiation tests, those inside would not be tested if the vehicle itself has radiation levels below the standard.

If the radiation is above standard, one person, a “representative” of everyone in the car, would be checked and, if approved, the car would be allowed to continue on its way under the assumption that the others had also been exposed to levels below standard. This policy stands even if those levels might be more dangerous to children than adults.

Finally, there is the question of whether bus drivers would cooperate by going in and out of radioactive zones to help those who lack quick access to a car, especially senior citizens in need of assistance.

None of the concerns about the evacuation plans is new, and most have been pointed out by safety experts, medical professionals and anti-nuclear groups.

But with the NRA having approved restarts for three Kansai-area reactors that are over 40 years old, Kansai leaders are responding more cautiously to efforts to restart Mihama No. 3 in particular.

It is absolutely crucial that local understanding for Mihama’s restart be obtained,” said pro-nuclear Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa in July, after a local newspaper survey showed that only about 37 percent of Fukui residents agree with the decision to restart old reactors.

Shiga Gov. Taizo Mikazuki, who is generally against nuclear power, was even more critical of the NRA’s decision to restart Mihama.

There are major doubts about the law that regulates the use of nuclear reactors more than 40 years old. The central government and Kepco need to explain safety countermeasures to residents who are uneasy. People are extremely uneasy about continuing to run old reactors,” the governor said earlier this month.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11/27/national/fukushima-aftershock-renews-public-concern-restarting-kansais-aging-nuclear-reactors/#.WDu8kFzia-d

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A turbine at the No. 3 reactor of Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama plant in Fukui Prefecture is seen on Nov. 16.

November 28, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Kagoshima governor accepts restart of reactor at Sendai plant

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Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono responds to questions from reporters at a news conference at the prefectural government building on Oct. 28.

KAGOSHIMA–Despite campaigning on a pledge to immediately suspend operations at the Sendai nuclear plant, Governor Satoshi Mitazono has now accepted the scheduled restart of a reactor there amid mounting pressure from the plant operator.

I have no (legal) authority over whether (the reactor) can restart or not,” Mitazono said of the No. 1 reactor at the plant at a news conference on Oct. 28. “Kyushu Electric (Power Co.) will bring it back online anyway no matter how I respond.”

After being elected in July, Mitazono twice called on the utility in August and September to immediately shut down the plant in Satsuma-Sendai in the prefecture for additional safety checks.

Each time, the company turned him down.

Mitazono stopped making a similar request to the company, saying he would likely receive the same response.

After the No. 1 reactor went offline early this month for regular maintenance, the media focus has shifted to whether the new governor would accept the reactor’s scheduled restart around Dec. 8.

A governor does not have the legal authority to order a halt to the operation of a nuclear power plant.

Mitazono, a former TV journalist, won the gubernatorial race due, in part, to growing calls from the public for extra safety checks on the plant and the overhaul of the existing evacuation plan, which was compiled by his predecessor.

Concerns about the soundness of the plant mounted among voters since a series of powerful earthquakes struck Kumamoto Prefecture, Kagoshima Prefecture’s northern neighbor, in April.

Many of the roads and other infrastructure were damaged in the temblors in Kumamoto Prefecture, hindering residents from swiftly evacuating.

At that time, the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Sendai plant were the only two units operating in the nation. They were the first two reactors signed off on meeting the new regulations set after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Mitazono’s news conference was the first since he gave one in late July right after he took office.

He had signaled previously that he would decide on the restart of the No. 1 reactor based on the discussion of an expert panel he intended to set up at the prefectural government to examine the safety of the Sendai plant.

But he stopped short of laying out a specific time frame for forming the panel.

I am hoping to do it as soon as I can,” he said at the news conference.

The governor has yet to submit a budget request needed to assemble the panel to the prefectural assembly.

The prefectural assembly is expected to convene in late November in the next session, meaning that the panel will not be established ahead of the No. 1 reactor’s restart.

Mitazono also said he expects to inspect the Sendai plant alongside other experts on nuclear energy next month.

The inspection is aimed at examining details of “special checks” Kyushu Electric promised to conduct, in addition to the regular maintenance of the No. 1 reactor.

I am hoping to put together my thoughts about the plant’s safety through discussions with experts,” Mitazono said. “If necessary, I want to take some measures.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201610290035.html

October 29, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Ministry mulls 2020 start for Monju decommissioning after nine-month activation

Just before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, very nice…. Is the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima Daiichi, yet not under  control, yet unsettled, not enough for them???

“Under the plan, a nine-month trial period will be created from the spring of 2019 during which the reactor will run for four months in a bid to minimize the risk of accidents.”

Monju plant in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture.jpg

 

The science and technology ministry overseeing the trouble-prone Monju fast-breeder reactor is considering starting decommissioning of the facility in 2020, ministry sources said Tuesday.

It is the first time a specific time frame for decommissioning work for the Monju reactor in Fukui Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast has been revealed in a proposed plan by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

The move comes as the government is fundamentally reviewing the Monju project, including the decommissioning of the reactor, which has been plagued with a series of safety problems and has come under fire for being costly.

The plutonium-burning Monju has hardly operated over the past 20 years, due to a spate of problems and incidents, despite its intended key role in Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling policy.

The plan to start scrapping the reactor is on the condition of running the reactor for a short period of time to obtain necessary data for the future development of fast reactors.

Under the plan, a nine-month trial period will be created from the spring of 2019 during which the reactor will run for four months in a bid to minimize the risk of accidents.

Other countries have also shown interest in fast-reactor technology due to its purported use in radioactive waste reduction among other benefits.

But the Nuclear Regulation Authority has been reluctant to allow the reactor’s restart.

During a government panel meeting held Oct. 7, the ministry presented an estimate that if Monju is reactivated, at least ¥540 billion ($5.2 billion) would be necessary over a 16-year period.

One of the sources said the cost of running the reactor for only a short period of time would be ¥200 billion at most. With necessary safety measures in place following the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns in 2011, the ministry believes no additional work is needed to meet regulatory requirements for its brief operation.

The government will continue to discuss the matter through the panel and formally decide by the end of the year.

The Monju reactor dates back to 1980, when the nation began trying to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. Almost all oil, coal and gas burned in Japan is imported.

Still, the reactor was costly and suffered under mismanagement and repeated accidents, only going live for a few months during its more than three decades of existence.

Monju first reached criticality in 1994 but was forced to shut down in December 1995 after a leak of sodium coolant and a fire. There was a subsequent attempt at a cover-up.

In November 2012, it emerged that the operator, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, had failed to properly check as many as 10,000 of the reactor’s components, as required by the safety rules in place at the time.

In November last year, the Nuclear Regulation Authority declared that the government-affiliated JAEA was “not qualified as an entity to safely operate” the facility.

It told the government either to find an alternative operator or scrap the project. The government was unable to find new management.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/26/national/ministry-mulls-2020-start-monju-decommissioning-nine-month-activation/#.WBBIpDzL9VZ.facebook

 

October 27, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Another nuclear plant restarted amid lingering safety concerns

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Ikata nuclear power plant, foreground, is located at the root of the Sadamisaki Peninsula.

The No. 3 reactor at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture was restarted Aug. 12, becoming the fifth reactor to be brought online under the stricter safety standards introduced in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The move followed the restart of the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture and the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture. However, the two reactors at the Takahama plant have remained offline since March after the Otsu District Court ordered the operator to shut them down.

The No. 3 unit at the Ikata plant is now the only operating reactor in Japan that burns mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel, composed of plutonium blended with uranium.

But this reactor shares many of the serious safety problems that have been pointed out for the reactors at the Sendai and Takahama plants. It is impossible for us to support the decision to resume operations of the Ikata plant reactor without resolving these problems.

What is particularly worrisome about the Ikata plant is the anticipated difficulty in securing the smooth evacuation of local residents in the event of a serious accident.

The facility is located at the root of the Sadamisaki Peninsula, a 40-kilometer-long spear of land that juts westward into the sea with a maximum width of 6 km or so.

This narrow strip of land west of the plant is home to about 5,000 people.

The only land route for the emergency evacuation of local residents is a national highway that passes near the nuclear plant into inland areas.

Under the evacuation plan crafted jointly by the local governments in the region and the central government, local residents are supposed to be evacuated mainly by ship from ports in the peninsula if the highway becomes impassable because of an accident at the plant.

But many of the communities in the peninsula are located on slopes in coastal areas. They could be cut off from the rest of the peninsula if a landslide occurs.

There are seven radiation protection facilities within the town of Ikata, but four of them are located in designated landslide-prone areas.

People aged 65 or older account for more than 40 percent of the town’s population.

The municipal government has plans in place to support the evacuation of residents of each district. But residents say there is no way to secure evacuation of the entire town if multiple disasters occur.

People living in areas located between 5 and 30 kilometers from a nuclear power plant are supposed to take shelter in their own homes or public facilities, in principle, when a serious nuclear accident takes place.

But the series of earthquakes that rocked central Kyushu around Kumamoto Prefecture in April underscored anew the devastating effects of multiple disasters. The swarm of quakes included two registering a maximum intensity of 7 on the Japanese seismic scale, which caused severe damage to buildings across wide areas of Kumamoto Prefecture.

Ehime Prefecture is likely to be shaken violently if it is struck by the predicted massive Nankai Trough earthquake.

But the prefecture is ill-prepared for such a gigantic quake, with the ratio of public facilities that are quake-proof in the prefecture being the third lowest in Japan. These public facilities are supposed to play a key role in disaster response scenarios.

Evacuation plans are designed mainly to cope with situations in the wake of a single nuclear accident.

At the very least, however, the central and local governments should give serious consideration to the possibility of a nuclear accident being triggered or accompanied by other disasters like an earthquake and a landslide, and evaluate whether the lives of local residents will be protected in such situations.

Satoshi Mitazono, the new governor of Kagoshima Prefecture who took office last month, has indicated his intention to ask Kyushu Electric Power to halt the two reactors at its Sendai plant in response to local anxiety that has been aroused by the Kumamoto earthquakes.

Shikoku Electric Power’s decision to bring the Ikata reactor back on stream despite the fresh safety concerns is deplorable.

Another sticky issue is how to dispose of spent nuclear fuel.

If the No. 2 reactor at the Ikata plant is also restarted following the No. 3 unit, the spent fuel pool will become full in six to seven years. But there is no prospect of building a new storage facility for spent fuel.

There is no practical way, either, to reprocess spent MOX fuel.

The utility, which covers the Shikoku Island, has apparently enough capacity to meet power demand during this summer too.

The company has estimated that restarting the reactor will boost its annual earnings by 25 billion yen ($247 million). But this offers no compelling case for bringing the reactor back online at this moment.

Electric utilities, the central government and local governments in areas where nuclear power plants are located should all stop seeking to restart reactors until they have first dealt with the raft of safety issues.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201608130031.html

August 14, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment