FUKUOKA - Kyushu Electric Power Co. began full-scale commercial operations Tuesday of the second reactor at its two-unit nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture after clearing final inspections by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.
The No. 1 unit at the Sendai plant returned to commercial service Sept. 10, the first under safety regulations adopted in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Reactor 2 at the plant is the second.
The NRA’s final inspection lasted two days. The No. 2 reactor was restarted Oct. 15 and began power generation and transmission Oct. 21. Output was raised gradually until the reactor reached full capacity Nov. 1.
Before the two units were reactivated, no electricity was generated in Japan with nuclear power for nearly two years as all commercial reactors were gradually taken offline amid safety concerns in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima meltdowns.
The Abe administration is pushing nuclear power as a key electricity source and is promoting the restart of idled reactors across the country even though public sentiment remains strongly negative.
Besides the two-unit Sendai plant, two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture and one reactor at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture have obtained the necessary safety clearance.
The reactor at the Ikata plant is expected to be reactivated next year after local authorities agreed last month to the restart.
Stricter safety regulations for nuclear reactors were adopted after they were brought to a standstill in the wake of the catastrophe at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant in 2011.