By HIROKI HASHIMOTO/ Staff Writer
November 4, 2020 at 18:35 JST
Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear power plant No. 3 reactor, left, and the No. 4 reactor in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, in 2017 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japan will have to limp by on just one nuclear reactor for the next six weeks after Kansai Electric Power Co. shut down the No. 4 reactor at its Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture, western Japan, for regular maintenance on Nov. 3.
That task will fall to the No. 4 reactor of Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai nuclear power plant in Genkai, Saga Prefecture.
All nuclear power plants shut down in Japan in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster that crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.
Since then, the Kansai, Shikoku and Kyushu electric power utilities restarted operations of nine reactors at five nuclear power plants.
This is the first time since May 2017 that all nuclear reactors operated by Kansai Electric remain suspended.
Electric power companies are required to construct an anti-terrorism facility at their nuclear power plants under stringent new safety regulations imposed after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant.
But Kansai Electric failed to meet the deadline at the Takahama nuclear power plant in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, forcing it to take its No. 3 and No. 4 reactors offline.
In addition, pipes need to be replaced at its Oi nuclear power plant's No. 3 reactor.
Kansai Electric submitted repair plans to the government and expects to finish the work in January so it can restart the reactor in February at the earliest.
In January this year, the Hiroshima High Court granted a provisional disposition order to stop Shikoku Electric’s Ikata nuclear power plant's No. 3 reactor in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture, which means it is unlikely to come back online until next March at the earliest.
Kyushu Electric’s Sendai nuclear power plant's No. 1 and No. 2 reactors in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, were also suspended after construction of an anti-terrorism facility fell behind schedule.
The Genkai nuclear power plant's No. 3 reactor is undergoing regular inspections, so only the No. 4 reactor is still operating.
This situation is expected to continue until Dec. 22 when Kansai Electric plans to restart the No. 3 reactor at its Takahama nuclear power plant.
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