National

Kyushu Electric to take reactor offline in March due to delay in building anti-terrorism facility

JIJI, Kyodo

Kyushu Electric Power Co. will be forced to halt a Kagoshima Prefecture nuclear reactor next March due to a delay in the construction of a facility meant to prepare for possible terrorist attacks, company officials said.

The No. 1 reactor at the Fukuoka-based company’s Sendai power plant will be the first in Japan whose operation will be suspended because of a delay in the construction of such a facility.

In April this year, the Nuclear Regulation Authority decided to order that reactors be halted if such facilities were not completed by a set deadline.

On Wednesday, the authority indicated its policy is to issue such an order about a week before the deadline.

Kyushu Electric will miss a deadline on construction of the required facility for the 890,000-kilowatt reactor before the deadline of March 17, 2020, officials said, and it has become a certainty that the plant will halt operations.

A significant reduction in the construction period is difficult despite efforts to boost efficiency, as the company is placing importance on the safety of workers, officials said.

The Sendai plant’s No. 2 reactor will also be halted as Kyushu Electric expects to miss that reactor’s May 21, 2020, deadline. The No. 2 reactor has an output capacity of 890,000 kilowatts.

The officials said taking the reactors offline will pose no problems for the company’s electricity supply, as its thermal power generation can make up for the loss.

But the company hopes to shorten the period of suspension as much as possible to minimize the impact on its earnings, the officials added.

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