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Kansai Electric Power Co. plans to halt the No. 4 reactor at its Oi nuclear power plant for regular inspections Nov. 3, marking the first time in some 3½ months for all of its reactors to go offline.

The suspension of the reactor is expected to weigh on Kansai Electric's earnings, as the company has a relatively high dependency on nuclear power among major power utilities. Each active reactor is believed to boost the company's earnings by about ¥3 billion per month.

All nuclear reactors in Japan were taken offline after the triple meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant following the March 2011 major earthquake and tsunami.

Kansai Electric had resumed operations at the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Oi plant as well as the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at its Takahama plant, all in Fukui Prefecture, by May 2018.

The No. 3 reactors at both Takahama and Oi have already been idled for regular inspections, while the No. 4 reactor at Takahama was suspended Oct. 7 because of delays in the construction of anti-terrorism facilities.

As a result, all of the company's reactors will be offline until late December, when the Takahama plant's No. 3 reactor is slated to resume operations.

According to Kansai Electric, an active reactor at Takahama pushes up the company's earnings by ¥2.5 billion per month, while one at Oi raises its earnings by ¥3.5 billion per month.

Although the coming reactor suspension will not impair Kansai Electric's power supply, it is bound to pull down the company's business performance.

Meanwhile, the power utility completed construction work for earthquake resistance and other safety measures in September for the No. 1 reactor at Takahama as well as the No. 3 reactor at the Mihama plant, also in Fukui. If reactivated, they will be the first domestic reactors to be in operation for more than 40 years.

The reactors can start generating electricity from as early as the beginning of next year, but it is unclear whether local residents will agree to the restarts due to the negative impact of a high-profile gift scandal at the company revealed last year.

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