Ikata 3 back in commercial operation

07 September 2016

Unit 3 of the Ikata nuclear power plant in Japan's Ehime prefecture has resumed commercial operation, Shikoku Electric Power Company announced today. Only two other Japanese reactors are currently in commercial operation.

Ikata plant - 460 (Shikoku)
The three-unit Ikata plant (Image: Shikoku)

Ikata 3 had been idle since being taken offline for a periodic inspection in April 2011. However, Shikoku began the process to restart Ikata 3 on 12 August and the reactor attained criticality the following day. The 846 MWe pressurized water reactor resumed power generation on 15 August and reached 100% operating capacity on 22 August.

Shikoku said the reactor completed a full-power performance inspection by the Nuclear Regulation Authority at 4.00pm today, when it was declared to be in commercial operation once again.

In a statement, Shikoku president Hayato Saeki thanked everyone in Ehime prefecture and Ikata town for their "efforts, understanding and cooperation" in restarting the reactor. He added that Ikata 3 now becomes the company's main source of "stable and inexpensive power supply". Saeki said the company would strive to keep the public informed about the continued safe management of the plant.

Ikata 3 became the fifth Japanese reactor to resume operation under new safety standards introduced following the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Unit 1 of Kyushu Electric Power Company's Sendai plant in Kagoshima prefecture was the first to be restarted last August, followed by Sendai 2 in October. Unit 3 of Kansai Electric Power Company's Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui prefecture resumed operation on 29 January. Takahama 4 was restarted on 26 February, but has remained offline since 29 February following an automatic shutdown of the reactor due to a "main transformer/generator internal failure". However, an injunction imposed by a district court on 9 March led to unit 3 being taken offline as well and both units have since remained idle.

Another 20 reactors are moving through the restart process, which has been prioritised to bring on the most-needed reactors first, in the localities and prefectures more supportive of restart.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News