By YASUYUKI ONAYA/ Staff Writer
May 21, 2020 at 16:21 JST
The No. 1 reactor, right, and the No. 2 reactor of Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Kyushu Electric Power Co. suspended operations of a second reactor at its Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture on May 20 after again falling behind on work to build an anti-terrorism facility there.
The No. 2 reactor at the plant went offline under a “backfitting” provision implemented by the Nuclear Regulation Authority that forces utilities to halt nuclear power operations if the latest safety standards are not met.
The NRA requires the companies to build anti-terrorism facilities at their nuclear power plants so that reactors can be operated and controlled remotely in the event of a terror attack.
Kyushu Electric failed to meet the May 21 deadline to complete the facility at the Sendai plant. The No. 2 reactor is the second to be halted over slow progress in the anti-terrorism measure.
Delays in construction already forced Kyushu Electric to shut down the No. 1 reactor at the plant on March 16.
Kansai Electric Power Co. and Shikoku Electric Power Co. are also expected to halt reactor operations because of the same reason.
The anti-terrorism requirement was made after the NRA tightened safety standards for nuclear power generation in light of the 2011 disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Kyushu Electric will regularly inspect the No. 2 reactor and aims to resume its operations from Jan. 26, 2021. It plans to restart the No. 1 reactor on Dec. 26 this year.
The company said it will use a thermal power plant to ensure a stable electricity supply during the suspension of the two reactors. It expects fuel costs for the thermal power plant to increase to about 25 billion yen ($232 million).
The No. 3 reactor of Kyushu Electric’s Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture is scheduled to undergo a regular inspection for about two months from mid-September. That inspection will leave the company with only one of its four reactors online.
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