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Thursday, 9 July 2015

Slow N-screenings pass just 5 reactors

To mind that this article is from Yomiuri, a pro-government newspaper
 
Two years have passed since new safety standards were introduced requiring utilities to strengthen their measures to prevent serious accidents at nuclear facilities as a result of major earthquakes or tsunami, requirements put in place following the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Safety inspections are under way at 25 reactors at the nation’s 15 nuclear power plants. However, only five reactors at three nuclear plants, including the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power. Co.’s Sendai plant, have been approved as meeting the new standards.
Given the time-consuming process of post-approval checks, all of Japan’s nuclear power plants continue to remain offline.
In September 2014, the Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture cleared the new safety standards set by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Kyushu Electric started loading fuel into the Sendai plant’s No. 1 reactor on Tuesday, which is highly likely to be brought online as early as mid-August.
Screenings have been completed for Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at its Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, but a time frame for resuming operations is not yet in sight. The Fukui District Court had issued a provisional disposition order to forbid the restart of the reactors.
Regarding Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s No. 3 reactor at its Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture, the NRA will likely issue a screening certificate verifying that the reactor satisfies safety standards.
Safety screenings are progressing more slowly for 10 reactors at eight nuclear power plants, including TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture, which uses boiling water reactors like the ones at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
Estimates of maximum seismic vibrations, which form the basis for safety measures, have yet to be finalized for these reactors.
KEPCO is aiming to extend the operational period of its aging Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at its Takahama nuclear plant, as well as the No. 3 reactor at its Mihama plant, also in Fukui Prefecture, to more than 40 years. Forty years is the maximum period generally allowed by the state.
The three reactors must pass screenings and other inspections by July next year and November next year in accordance with state regulations, raising the issue of the need to speed up the inspection process.
“The new safety standards have set considerably high standards,” NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said at a press conference on Wednesday, “so I believe utilities are having to take some time to satisfy those requirements.”
Source: Yomiuri
http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002276652
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