Kyushu Electric Power Co. has been forced to review restart plans for the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai Nuclear Power Plant a day after a court ruling paved the way for the move.
The plant, in Kagoshima Prefecture, was set to be restarted in mid-July, but on Thursday the Nuclear Regulation Authority criticized the company’s planning.
The NRA found the plan, which was presented at a meeting between Kyushu Electric and the NRA, to be too optimistic following some work delays in ongoing final checks on the No. 1 reactor.
“We don’t think the plan is realistic,” Toyoshi Fuketa, commissioner of the NRA, said at the meeting. “It just looks like wishful thinking.”
He added that: “As the checks are important, we want to spend time where we need to.”
Under its existing timetable Kyushu Electric planned to insert nuclear fuel into the reactor in June, reactivate it mid-July and begin commercial operations mid-August.
All 48 of Japan’s commercial reactors remain offline amid heightened public safety concerns following the triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant in 2011.
The Sendai No. 1 reactor was on track to be the first to be restarted.
“We will reconsider the timetable,” Kyushu Electric Managing Executive Officer Akira Nakamura told reporters after the NRA meeting.
On Wednesday, Kagoshima District Court dismissed a provisional injunction to block the restart of two reactors at the Sendai plant.
It stood in sharp contrast to a decision by the Fukui District Court last week to block the restart of reactors at the Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture over safety concerns.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to reboot reactors to help reduce high energy costs, but opponents are using the courts to block the revival of nuclear power, which is widely unpopular, especially in areas where residents cannot get local governors or mayors to prevent a restart.