• Kyodo


Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to resume operations of a reactor at a nuclear power plant in Fukushima, company sources said Saturday.

If the company obtains approval from residents, it will restart its No. 3 reactor at its Fukushima No. 1 plant as early as next month.

It would be the first step toward Tepco restarting its plants since it was discovered last August that the company had falsified records on cracks at nuclear power plants.

But Fukushima Gov. Eisaku Sato has been cautious about operations being resumed. “It is not time to comment yet (about restarting the plants),” he said.

Operations at the No. 3 reactor, in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, were suspended last July for 103 days due to regular inspections.

Inspections were prolonged, however, when the company found cracks in more than 80 percent of the reactor’s pipes. It has since either repaired or replaced the damaged pipes.

The pipes carry water used to power the drive shaft of the reactor’s control rods.

Tepco was forced to halt operations at 12 of its 17 nuclear reactors in Fukushima and Niigata prefectures because of the coverup.

Tepco had planned to start using uranium-plutonium mixed oxide fuel at the No. 3 reactor, in line with the government’s plan to promote the MOX program as a key component of a nuclear fuel cycle.

But governor Sato said in September that he would rescind his earlier approval to accept the MOX program following the scandal. He noted that the conditions for the consent to go ahead with the project had “disappeared.”

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