Hokuriku Electric seeks Shika reactor restart

JIJI

Hokuriku Electric Power Co. applied Tuesday for regulatory safety checks on the No. 2 reactor at its Shika nuclear power plant in Ishikawa Prefecture.

The company wants to restart the reactor to improve its earnings as the suspension of nuclear plants has sent fuel costs for thermal power generation soaring.

Hokuriku Electric was the last of the country’s 10 nuclear plant operators to file for a reactor safety check by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The move brings 20 reactors at 13 nuclear plants across the country under NRA scrutiny.

All reactors need to pass the NRA’s screening before they can restart operations.

The NRA’s examinations are based on safety standards introduced in July 2013 in the aftermath of the Fukushima crisis.

At a shareholders’ meeting in June, Hokuriku Electric President Susumu Kyuwa said that since all domestic reactors are offline, severe electricity supply-demand conditions continue.

The Shika plant has two reactors. The No. 2 reactor, which started operations in 2006, has an output capacity of 1.36 million kilowatts. The 540,000-kw No. 1 reactor began operating in 1993.

In the filing, Hokuriku Electric raised the possible maximum earthquake ground acceleration to 1,000 gal from its previous estimate of 600 gal. It also raised the possible tsunami height to 7.1 meters from 5 meters.

In a report submitted to the NRA in December, the company said no faults at the Shika plant are active. But the NRA has not reached a conclusion on whether the faults are active or not.