• Kyodo


Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency officials indicated they will issue tougher instructions to Chubu Electric Power Co., operator of Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station which leaked radioactive water Saturday, following an inspection by the Shizuoka prefectural government Sunday.

The latest leak at the plant in Hamaoka, Shizuoka Prefecture, follows problems in November that shut it for months. Yoshihiro Tanabe, director general of the disaster prevention bureau of the Shizuoka government, called on the agency to send the utility a stern message.

Agency officials from the nuclear disaster prevention division visited the prefectural government office and explained the leak. They described it as “a slight accident.”

They added, however, that proper preparations were not carried out in the resumption of operations at the facility and that Chubu Electric should have been more cautious, according to Shizuoka officials.

Later in the day, the agency officials briefed the municipal government of Hamaoka about the leak. They were also to receive a report from the plant operator on past inspections and safety-control measures.

Some 110 liters of coolant water leaked from a welded area of the valve for a low-pressure core injection system at the plant’s No. 2 reactor. The welded part had not been replaced in about 25 years. Chubu Electric says, however, that it found no abnormality in late-April tests or during a check on Friday.

In addition, Chubu Electric did not inspect the inside of the pipe, and it admitted that it failed to give proper instructions to the company.

Such inside inspections are not required under current regulations, but agency officials suggested they will review the regulations.

The plant shut down its No. 1 reactor last November after a pipe ruptured and caused a water leak involving a high-pressure emergency core cooling system.

The No. 2 reactor was also shut down at that time because of its similarity to the No. 1 reactor. It resumed operations Friday after a six-month break, and it was supposed to start generating power Saturday.

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