Japan to restart second reactor on Oct. 15 under post-Fukushima rules


Kyushu Electric Power Co. will restart one of its nuclear reactors on Oct. 15, making it the second to return to operation after the government introduced stricter safety regulations following the 2011 meltdowns in Fukushima Prefecture, a source familiar with the restart plan said.

Kyushu Electric reported its plan to reactivate the No. 2 reactor at its Sendai complex to the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Friday.

The No. 1 unit at the two-reactor plant resumed operation in August, becoming the first reactor to do so under what the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calls “the world’s toughest” safety rules, implemented in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The restart ended a near two-year hiatus in the country’s nuclear power generation.

The government plans to have nuclear power account for 20 percent to 22 percent of Japan’s total electricity supply in 2030, compared with roughly 30 percent before the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 complex, despite the majority of the public opposing nuclear plant restarts.

The government sees nuclear power as necessary for the country to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in combating climate change.

Kyushu Electric finished inserting 157 fuel rod assemblies into the No. 2 reactor last month and will begin final inspections from next Friday.

The huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, that triggered the Fukushima nuclear crisis, led to the shutdown of all of Japan’s commercial reactors by May 2012.

Two reactors were temporarily brought back online about two months later amid power shortage concerns, but they went offline for regular checks in September 2013.

  • TwoSheds

    They could use the reactor core from the Fukishima plant, if they ever find out where it went.

  • jimhopf

    “To protect .. people from global warming/climate change is to shut down nuclear….”

    What can one say in the face of Orwellian logic like that! Shutting down non-CO2-emitting generation to address climate change??

    As a result of their indefensible decision to shut down all their nukes, Japan’s CO2 emissions have increased dramatically, leading them to all but give up on all their emissions reduction goals.

    At the very least, any increases in renewable generation should be used to replace fossil fuels, not nuclear. Only when fossil is mostly gone should Japan start closing reactors, if renewables are capable of offsetting them.

    It is not clear at all that Japan could attain 100% renewable in the foreseeable future. Intermittentcy is always a limitation and, in the case of Japan, it is not clear that there is enough free land area to spare, in order to get all their power from renewables (which require ~100 times as much land area per kW-hr generated, vs. traditional plants).