Oi reactor checks to temporarily halt nuclear power generation

Kyodo

The nation’s only two fully operational nuclear reactors will be suspended for routine maintenance checks this month, shutting down all atomic power generation for only the second time in recent memory.

The nation’s 50 commercial reactors were taken offline after the Fukushima disaster debunked the nuclear safety myth promoted by the government for decades. This month’s checks will halt all atomic power generation in Japan for the first time in about 14 months, when Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture restarted its No. 3 and No. 4 reactors.

Since reactors by law must undergo periodic inspections every 13 months, unit 3 will be suspended Monday and unit 4 on Sept. 15.

It is not known how long the checks will take.

Last year, Japan said goodbye to nuclear power for the first time in more than 40 years after the Fukushima crisis awakened the public to the risks of radiation and nuclear power plant mismanagement.

The shutdown lasted about two months until the government decided in June to restart the two Oi reactors to prevent potential summer power shortages in western Japan.

Before the Fukushima crisis began, nuclear power accounted for around 30 percent of Japan’s total electricity supply.