Utility eyeing application for state approval to bring two more nuclear reactors back online

Kepco mulls Takahama plant restart

Kyodo

Kansai Electric Power Co. could apply for government permission in July to restart reactors 3 and 4 at its Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, sources said Saturday.

The utility is eyeing a resumption of operations at the plant after confirming whether it is in line with the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s new safety requirements that will take effect in July, the sources said.

Kepco operates the Oi nuclear power plant, also in Fukui, which boasts the only two operational reactors nationwide after safety fears arising from the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns disaster led to the suspension of all atomic energy generation.

According to the sources, the company considers it essential to also fire up the two Takahama reactors to secure an additional stable supply of electricity. But even if Kepco obtains state approval to restart the Takahama facility, on the Sea of Japan coast, it will still have to win consent from the local community, making a resumption of operations uncertain.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. may also ask for government permission around the same time to reactivate the Sendai nuclear power station in Kagoshima Prefecture, while Shikoku Electric Power Co. could seek approval to restart the Ikata atomic plant in Ehime Prefecture.

The NRA’s examination process may take longer if these two utilities also apply for a resumption of nuclear operations, the sources said.

In a bid to meet the watchdog’s new requirements, Kepco is taking measures to enhance the safety of the Takahama reactors, including the construction of additional tsunami barriers. The utility’s president, Makoto Yagi, has repeatedly said that once these safety measures are confirmed, Kepco intends to ask for permission to bring reactors 3 and 4 back online.

The company has already factored in the reactors’ reactivation while calculating a hike of household electricity rates in its Kansai service area.