National

NRA raps Sendai plant for lack of safety info

Kyodo

Nuclear regulators said Friday that Kyushu Electric Power Co. has not provided enough information in a document outlining safety measures for two reactors the utility wants to restart.

The document was submitted to the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday so the NRA can confirm that the reactors at Kyushu Electric’s Sendai plant satisfy the new safety requirements drafted in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Reactors 1 and 2 at the Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture are seen as the closest to restarting of the nation’s 48 idled commercial reactors, because the NRA has decided to prioritize the checkup process for the two units.

None of the 48 reactors will be allowed to go back online unless they satisfy the new regulations, which for the first time oblige utilities to take specific countermeasures against severe accidents like reactor core meltdowns as well as tsunami — one of the direct causes of the man-made Fukushima disaster.

But at a meeting of NRA commissioners Friday, an official reported that “some information needed for the assessment appears to be lacking” from the 7,200-page document submitted by Kyushu Electric.

For example, the document should include measures to be taken against forest fires and fires triggered by plane crashes, but Kyushu Electric only addressed forest fires, the official said. It also lacked some descriptions regarding studies on how well equipment can withstand the heat produced by fires.

Another NRA official told reporters that he cannot predict whether the latest development will lead to a delay in the assessment process.

“We are still examining the document in detail . . . prospects will also be affected by the utility’s response,” he said.

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