October 1, 2014
Kagoshima reactor restarts unlikely before January
The restart of reactors at the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture appears unlikely before January, as the plant’s operator only submitted the necessary documentation to regulators on Tuesday, months later than originally planned.
Kyushu Electric Power Co. submitted roughly 600 pages of documents concerning reactor 1 — one of two reactors at the complex that have obtained safety clearance by the Nuclear Regulation Authority — but that accounts for only a fraction of the operator’s 20,000-page construction plan, which needs to be submitted for the plant to be restarted.
Kyushu Electric had originally planned to submit the documentation to the NRA in late May. It plans to submit the remaining documents, including those regarding reactor 2, later this month, company officials said.
Given the time required to screen the construction plan, which includes building and equipment specifications, and for obtaining local consent for the restart, the Sendai plant is unlikely to come back online before January.
Also on Tuesday, the cities of Ichikikushikino and Hioki, which are located within a 30-km radius of the Sendai plant, demanded that the Kagoshima Prefectural Government seek their consent for the plant’s restart.
The move by the two localities comes as Kagoshima Gov. Yuichiro Ito has taken the position that approval by the prefectural government and the city of Satsumasendai, which hosts the nuclear power plant, would be sufficient to allow Kyushu Electric to restart the plant.
The municipal assembly of Ichikikushikino, which lies just 5 km from the facility, adopted a written statement by a majority vote urging the governor to also seek the city’s approval, saying a number of residents had signed petitions against restarting the plant following the start of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.
The governor should “fully respect” the opinions of the residents, the statement said.
The municipal assembly of Hioki unanimously adopted a similar statement the same day, stating “It is unacceptable to restart (the plant) without the city assembly and the mayor” approving it, as the municipality could also be held responsible in the event of a severe nuclear accident.
At a press conference on Tuesday, industry minister Yuko Obuchi, who oversees the power industry, said “Obtaining consent from local communities is not a legal requisite for a restart.”
Currently, all of Japan’s 48 commercial reactors remain offline due to safety concerns following the triple meltdown in Fukushima. The two-reactor Sendai plant is the closest to resumption after the NRA in September said it meets new, tighter safety regulations adopted in the wake of the nuclear disaster.
With only some of the documentation submitted to regulators on Tuesday, Kyushu Electric has missed its end-of-September deadline, set after it failed to meet its original end-of-May deadline.
“In addition to a heavy workload, we’ve had countermeasures for severe accidents and other new items to deal with, so there really is no precedent we can look to for a guide,” a company official said about the delay.
Paperwork delays snarl restart of Sendai nuclear plant to next year
By TOSHIO KAWADA/ Staff Writer
Kyushu Electric Power Co. jumped through all hoops but one to get its Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture back online this year.
Its failure to submit all the necessary paperwork means the reactors are unlikely to be reactivated until 2015, even though the facility cleared tougher safety standards.
Kyushu Electric had planned to submit the paperwork to the Nuclear Regulation Authority by the end of September, but it did not get around to completing the procedures by Sept. 30.
The utility said it will take two to four weeks to prepare the remaining documents required for restarts of the plant’s two reactors in Satsuma-Sendai.
Even after the company obtains the green light from the NRA, the reactors must clear on-site inspections of equipment. That almost certainly will rule out restarts by the end of this year.
The nuclear watchdog on Sept. 10 formally cleared the reactors, the first such approval under stricter safety standards established after the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.
The NRA will continue examining whether the utility’s application documents meet the watchdog’s conditions. The screening and equipment inspections will each take a couple of months.
On Sept. 30, Kyushu Electric submitted only a portion of the documents to make corrections to its previous application for approval of construction plans that list safety measurements.
In addition to the remaining paperwork, the company is required to present documents to make corrections to its applications for approval of manuals stipulating safety measures while the reactors are in operation or in case of accidents.
The utility initially planned to submit all the necessary documents by the end of May. As the company installed new equipment and took steps to raise the plant's ability to withstand strong earthquakes, the documents have increased to more than 40,000 pages, causing a delay in its preparation.
Kyushu Electric officials expect to submit all relevant documents by the end of October.
September 30, 2014
Restart of Sendai plant may be delayed
Sep. 30, 2014 - Updated 12:23 UTC+2
A nuclear power plant in Japan's southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima may not be restarted before the end of the year.
This is due to a delay in procedures required for the restart.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority ruled earlier this month that 2 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Company's Sendai plant meet the government's new requirements for restart. The plant became the first facility to meet the tougher standards introduced after the nuclear accident at Fukushima in 2011.
In order to bring the reactors online, the operator had intended to submit for NRA approval further details on the equipment and devices in use by the end of September.
On Tuesday, the operator submitted 600 pages of documents. These are part of about 40,000 pages involving the Number 1 reactor.
The utility says it will submit the remaining documents on the reactor within a week or two, and that it hopes to submit all the documents for the Number 2 reactor by the end of October.
The NRA will then assess the documents and check the new equipment and devices.
The utility also needs the consent of local communities in Kagoshima Prefecture for the restart.
Even if it obtains the local approval, the restart will not happen until December at the earliest, and probably not until early next year.