Monitoring of Oi reactors beefed up

Kyodo

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Thursday it will deploy inspectors to an off-site facility near the Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture around the clock to supplement monitoring of the reactivation of two reactors by the central control room.

But at a news conference in Oi, NISA officials said neither the nuclear watchdog nor Kansai Electric Power Co. plans to immediately inform the media about any unexpected troubles, regardless of its safety implications and environmental effects.

The move to deploy off-site inspectors follows criticism of NISA and Kepco over their failure to notify the media earlier about an alarm that sounded at the Oi plant’s reactor 3 earlier this week, warning that water levels were falling inside a cooling tank. Reactor 3 is the first one being fired back up.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura expressed regret about the delayed announcement, but said the incident does not suggest there are safety problems at the facility.