Photo/IllutrationThe No. 3 reactor and the No. 4 reactor at the Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Two operators of nuclear power plants are delaying the restart of their facilities by at least two months because of prolonged safety checks of components supplied by affiliates of scandal-hit Kobe Steel Ltd., which faked inspection data.

Kansai Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. said Nov. 30 that some sections of the Oi and the Genkai nuclear plants, respectively, used parts supplied by companies of the Kobe Steel group and that it is taking longer than initially expected to confirm their safety.

Kansai Electric had planned to restart the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at its Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture in January and March next year, respectively. Kyushu Electric had a similar schedule for the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at its Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture.

But the safety inspections will now likely delay the planned restart to March for the No. 3 reactors and to May for the No. 4s.

The inspections have been hindered by a paucity of data concerning the safety of the parts, according to Kansai Electric.

The two utilities reported the change in the schedule for the restart to the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Nov. 30.

The malpractice at Kobe Steel, which came to light in October, is also taking a toll on the restart of the No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture, which is operated by Shikoku Electric Power Co.

The utility envisaged bringing the reactor online around Jan. 20 after an inspection was completed by the end of the year. It was shut down for routine maintenance in October.

The inspection of the facility, which includes parts supplied by the Kobe Steel group, is still unfinished.

The checks could take more time to wrap up, possibly causing Shikoku Electric to delay the restart of the No. 3 reactor, a source said.