Photo/IllutrationThe No. 1 reactor, right, at the Sendai nuclear power plant in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture. At left is the No. 2 reactor. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Kyushu Electric Power Co. will halt operations of the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture next March due to a delay in upgrades to protect it from terror attacks, sources said June 13.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) decided at a meeting on June 12 that it would order electric power companies to suspend operations of their reactors unless such anti-terror facilities are completed about a week before the set deadlines.

As the deadline for the No. 1 reactor work is March 17, 2020, and the completion is expected to be delayed by about one year, operations will cease the following day.

Referring to the length of the delay, a Kyushu Electric Power executive said, "About a year is a real possibility."

The company is already working 24 hours a day on the project, and some have said that it would be difficult to take further measures to increase the speed of construction from a worker safety standpoint.

Under such circumstances, there has been a growing view that it would be impossible to meet the deadline, and thus the firm judged that it cannot help but suspend the reactor's operation.

Another executive said that the company hopes to shorten the suspension period as much as possible.

Anti-terror facilities for the No. 2 reactor are also likely to be delayed about a year past the deadline of May 21, 2020.

Kyushu Electric Power also said that similar facilities for the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture may not meet their deadlines in 2022.