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Utility seeks to restart two reactors in Fukui from mid-May

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The Takahama Nuclear Power Plant’s No. 3 reactor, left, and No. 4 reactor are pictured in this file photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, on June 15, 2016.

FUKUI, Japan (Kyodo) — Kansai Electric Power Co. said Tuesday it will seek to restart its two idled reactors in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, in mid-May and early June, respectively.

Shigeki Iwane, the utility’s president, presented the plan to reboot the two units at the Takahama plant on the Sea of Japan coast when meeting with Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa.

“It is correct that (Kansai Electric Power) will take procedures to start operations,” Nishikawa told reporters after the meeting.

Kansai Electric Power will start to load nuclear fuel at the No. 4 unit later this month, eyeing the start of electricity generation in late May while aiming to reactivate the No. 3 reactor in early June after fueling the facility in mid-May, according to the schedule released by the Osaka-based company.

Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has been promoting the restart of nuclear reactors across Japan, most of the reactors remain offline amid safety concerns among residents following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

The two reactors in Takahama were brought back online in early 2016 after meeting the safety requirements introduced after the 2011 nuclear disaster.

While the No. 4 unit was shut down immediately after its restart in February last year due to a technical problem, the No. 3 reactor was forced to go offline the following month in the wake of an Otsu District Court order that resulted from a lawsuit filed by residents in neighboring Shiga Prefecture.

In March this year, the Osaka High Court struck down the lower court’s decision, making it possible for the two reactors to resume operation.

Among the four units at the Takahama plant, Japan’s nuclear regulators approved June last year the utility’s plan to extend the operation of the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors beyond the government-mandated 40-year service period.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170426/p2g/00m/0dm/001000c

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April 26, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

NRA clears Genkai reactors

The R3 and R4 of the Genkai nuclear power plant, Pref. Saga, have met the new safety standards of the NRA. Restart announced at the end of summer.

As of today: Have met the safety standards, 10 reactors in 5 nuclear plant namely also Sendai R1, R2 – Takahama R1 to R4 – Mihama R3 – Ikata R3.

Two reactors have now been restarted: Sendai 1 and Ikata 3 (using MOX).

 

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The Nuclear Regulation Authority formally decided Wednesday on the screening document certifying that the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture satisfied the country’s safety standards for their restart.

The latest decision made at an NRA regular meeting brings to 10 the number of reactors, at five nuclear power plants, that have satisfied the regulator’s new safety standards, introduced after the nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011. The two Genkai reactors are scheduled to be back online sometime in or after summer this year.

The Kyushu power company applied for a safety screening on those reactors in July 2013. At that time, the company anticipated an earthquake with an acceleration of up to 540 gal at the Genkai plant followed by tsunami of up to 3 meters high. However, the NRA deemed the simulation as “too optimistic” and the figures were raised to an acceleration of 620 gal with 4-meter-high tsunami.

In November last year, the NRA approved a draft document as the two reactors complied with the new standards. The NRA then solicited public opinions and received 4,200 comments, including concerns over possible earthquakes, but concluded that there was no problem with compliance.

With the formal decision being made on the Genkai plant, the focus for the restart has moved to an approval of a construction plan that maps out the specifications of related equipment for safe operation as well as whether it can obtain the consent of local governments for the restart.

So far, nuclear reactors that have passed the NRA’s screenings under the new standards are the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at Kyushu’s Sendai power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, the Nos. 1 to 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama plant and KEPCO’s No. 3 reactor at Mihama plant, both in Fukui Prefecture, and the No. 3 reactor at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture. Currently, two reactors — Sendai plant’s No. 1 and Ikata’s No. 3 — are online.

http://www.the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003466628

 

January 24, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Abe’s Nuclear Japan Goals Face More Ballot-Box Battles in 2017

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– Anti-nuclear candidates win in Niigata, Kagoshima prefectures

– Three gubernatorial races next year in regions facing restarts

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ambition to restart the country’s fleet of nuclear reactors may face further challenges from local elections.

The victory of an anti-nuclear gubernatorial candidate in the central prefecture of Niigata on Sunday, following a similar win in the southern Kagoshima region earlier this year, is complicating efforts by the country’s ruling party to revive Japan’s nuclear fleet. There will be at least three such elections next year in areas where utilities are vying to restart reactors.

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Even as the Abe administration remains committed to including nuclear power as part of Japan’s energy mix, implementing this vision will require overcoming ever-more-dogged resistance from local communities and their representatives,” Tobias Harris, a vice president with Teneo Intelligence in Washington D.C., said in a note Monday. “The restart process will continue to proceed unevenly at best.”

Almost all the country’s reactors remain shut because of new safety regulations and public opposition following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Only 2 of Japan’s 42 operable reactors are producing power commercially as of Oct. 6, when Kyushu Electric Power Co. shut its Sendai No. 1 unit for maintenance. 

Local Approval

Sendai’s return to service may be delayed due to the recently elected Kagoshima governor’s strong opposition to its operation. Local government approval — including endorsement from the governor — is traditionally sought by Japanese utilities before returning plants to service.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. fell the most in almost four months on Monday after Ryuichi Yoneyama was elected governor of Niigata over the weekend. Yoneyama won’t support restarting the prefecture’s Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant without a deeper review of the Fukushima meltdown and Niigata’s current evacuation measures.

Elections will be watched closely as support from local governments are crucial to get more nuclear reactors back online, according to Syusaku Nishikawa, an analyst at Daiwa Securities Co. About 57 percent of the Japanese public oppose restarts, according to an Asahi newspaper poll earlier this month. Lawsuits have also threatened reactor operations.

Public opposition and the slow pace of returning reactors will be a challenge to Abe’s goal of having nuclear power provide at least 20 percent of Japan’s electricity by 2030, Harris said.

Gubernatorial races are held within about 30 days of when the current term ends, which will happen in 2017 in the following prefectures, according to the local-government websites and data compiled by Bloomberg:

Shizuoka

Chubu Electric Power Co.’s only nuclear power plant is in Shizuoka prefecture, where two of the Hamaoka facility’s units are under review by the nation’s regulator. The current governor, Heita Kawakatsu, said Monday the issue of nuclear restarts should be thoroughly debated during the election, according to Chunichi newspaper. He said in May the prefecture should hold a public referendum on whether the reactors restart, the Mainichi newspaper reported.

While an exact date for the election hasn’t been decided, it will likely occur as early as June, according to the prefecture’s administrative office. Chubu Electric declined to comment on next year’s gubernatorial race and the current governor’s stance. The governor’s office wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Miyagi

Tohoku Electric Power Co. asked the national nuclear regulator to review the safety of the No. 2 reactor at its Onagawa nuclear plant in 2013. Yoshihiro Murai, governor of Miyagi prefecture since 2005 and not affiliated with any party, will not take a position on the restart until after the review, according to an official from the prefecture’s nuclear safety policy division. Tohoku Electric declined to comment.

Ibaraki

Ibaraki prefecture is in a similar position as Miyagi.

Japan Atomic Power Co. asked for a federal safety review in 2014 of its Tokai Dai-Ni plant. Politically-independent Masaru Hashimoto, governor since 1993, said in an NHK interview earlier this year he’ll make a decision on the restart after the review is complete. Japan Atomic declined to comment. The governor’s office wasn’t immediately available to comment.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-18/abe-s-nuclear-japan-goals-face-more-ballot-box-battles-in-2017

October 20, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Five-and-a-Half Years After Fukushima, 3 of Japan’s 54 Nuclear Reactors Are Operating

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Since the accident at Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011 and the subsequent shutdown of nuclear reactors in Japan, five reactors have received approval to restart operations under the new safety standards imposed by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). Only three of those reactors are currently operating. Applications for the restart of 21 other reactors, including 1 under construction, are under review by the NRA. Some reactors that meet the new NRA safety standards and have been approved to restart continue to face legal or political opposition that may delay or forestall their restart.

After the Fukushima accident, all 54 of Japan’s reactors were shut down. Twelve reactors totaling 7.2 gigawatts (GW) were permanently closed. Restart applications for 20 previously operating reactors (totaling 19.5 GW) and 1 new reactor under construction (the 1.4 GW Oma Nuclear Power Station) have been filed with the NRA. The remaining 17 reactors (16 GW) have yet to submit restart applications. There is still uncertainty about whether some of these reactors can meet the new NRA safety regulations, particularly regulations regarding the ability to withstand severe earthquakes.

In addition to NRA approval, the restart of Japan’s nuclear reactors requires the approval of the central government and the consent of local governments or prefectures where the power plants are located. Opposition to reactor restarts has been primarily related to public concerns about seismic risks, the adequacy of NRA regulations, and evacuation plans in the event of an accident.

The five reactors approved by the NRA to restart total nearly 4.2 GW. Three reactors are operating, while two remain idle pending the outcome of legal challenges:

  • Kyushu Electric Power Company’s Sendai Units 1 and 2 (1.7 GW combined) are located in the Kagoshima prefecture and received NRA approval to restart in May 2015, slightly less than two years after submitting applications to restart. In August 2015, Sendai Unit 1 was the first reactor to be restarted under the NRA’s new safety regulations, with Sendai Unit 2 following in October. The reactors are scheduled to shut down for periodic inspection and maintenance in October and December 2016, and post-outage restarts may be delayed in light of the recent call by the newly elected prefectural governors for the temporary suspension of operations at Sendai.
  • Kansai Electric Power Company’s Takahama Units 3 and 4 (1.7 GW combined) in the Fukui prefecture received NRA restart approval in February 2015. Although the reactors briefly restarted in early 2016, a district court in the neighboring Shiga prefecture issued an injunction in March to shut down the two reactors. That court’s decision was reaffirmed in June and again in July following challenges by Kansai Electric. Kansai Electric filed an appeal with the Osaka High Court in late July seeking to lift the injunction.
  • Shikoku Electric Power Company’s Ikata Unit 3 (0.8 GW) is located in the Ehime prefecture. The NRA approved restart in August 2016. The reactor began generating electricity in August 2016 and is expected to resume commercial operation in September.

In July 2016, Japan’s Institute of Energy Economics (IEEJ) analyzed low, reference, and high reactor restart scenarios for fiscal years 2016 (ending March 2017) and 2017 (ending March 2018). The High case envisions that as many as 25 reactors may restart by March 2018, compared with 12 in the Low case. The continued uncertainty related to the length of the NRA review process, the difficulty in getting local consent, and the potential for protracted court proceedings can all affect both the actual level and timing of nuclear capacity

http://www.theenergycollective.com/todayinenergy/2387922/five-and-a-half-years-after-fukushima-3-of-japans-54-nuclear-reactors-are-operating

September 15, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment