Four Japanese utilities have applied to the country's nuclear regulators for permission to restart ten of the country's 48 non-operating nuclear reactors. Tepco is not one of them.
Utilities had been waiting for the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA)'s new regulations to come into force before submitting applications to restart reactors idled over the months following the Fukushima accident of March 2011. The units covered by the applications are Kansai's Takahama units 3 and 4 and Ohi units 3 and 4; Hokkaido's Tomari units 1-3; Shikoku's Ikata unit 3 and Kyushu's Sendai 1 and 2. Kyushu expects to submit applications for Genkai 3 and 4 on 12 July.
All but two of Japan's 50-reactor fleet have remained closed following the natural disaster of 11 March 2011 that struck Tepco's Fukushima Daiichi. Only two units - Kansai's Ohi 3 and 4 - have been allowed to resume operations to help meet power demand in the Kansai region. Ohi 3 and 4 are set to continue in operation until September when they will enter their next scheduled maintenance outage.
The new regulations require nuclear operators to show that their units are prepared for extraordinary external events comparable to the 2011 natural disaster.
Tepco's seven-unit Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant in Niigata was the only one of the company's three nuclear power stations unaffected by the March 2011 tsunami. On 2 July, Tepco announced that it would be applying for permission to restart units 6 and 7 as soon as the new regulations were final. However, following meetings on 5 July where the company failed to win the support of local officials, Tepco has decided to delay.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News