By YASUYUKI ONAYA/ Staff Writer
October 4, 2019 at 14:15 JST
The Sendai nuclear power plant, front, and the Sendai thermal power plant, back, in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
In a blow to its financial situation, Kyushu Electric Power Co. said it will suspend operations of its Sendai nuclear power plant after falling behind schedule on establishing mandatory anti-terrorism measures.
The company said Oct. 3 that it will be unable to meet the construction deadlines for the measures and will halt two reactors at the plant in Kagoshima Prefecture on the day before their respective deadlines.
That means the No. 1 reactor will be offline for nine months from March to December next year, while the No. 2 reactor will be suspended for eight months from May to January 2021.
Under safety standards of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), utilities must build facilities that can respond to emergencies triggered by terrorist attacks against their reactors. The NRA’s policy is to order a suspension of operations from the day after a construction deadline is missed.
The Sendai plant will be the first in Japan to be suspended because of delays in building anti-terror facilities.
“This will have a considerable financial impact,” a company official said.
Kyushu Electric in April estimated that running thermal power stations to make up for lost electricity from each shut-down nuclear reactor would cost an additional 48 billion yen ($450 million) annually.
Even after the suspension periods end for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, it will take about one month to bring them back for commercial operations.
In the latter half of next year, the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors of Kyushu Electric’s Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture will be shut down for regular inspections.
So for about four months, the company will have only one reactor in operation.
Kansai Electric Power Co. and Shikoku Electric Power Co. also face delays in building their anti-terrorism facilities.
The two utilities are considering shortening the construction schedule, but they will have to decide on whether they need to suspend operations of their reactors.
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