23 Mars 2016
March 23, 2016
Japan's nuclear regulator says it will suspend screening for restarts of 2 reactors at a nuclear power plant in central Japan.
The reactors are the Number 6 and 7 units of the plant at Kashiwazaki-kariwa in Niigata Prefecture.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority said on Wednesday that Tokyo Electric Power Company must supply more data for a new method of assessing quake resistance of facilities and buildings.
The screening has focused on measures to prevent serious accidents, as the regulator judged that the 2 reactors have a new design and pose fewer safety risks.
Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida says he wants the regulator to conduct thorough safety checks. He also suggests that finding the truth of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident is essential for ensuring the safety of nuclear plants.
The 2 reactors are boiling-water types, like those of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The screening was in the final stage, with more progress than that for any similar reactors. The regulator says assessing the 2 reactors' quake resistance may take 6 more months. It adds that while the screening is suspended, it will resume that for other reactors of the same type.
Reactors must meet tougher government requirements introduced after the Fukushima accident before going back online.
Safety screenings for the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant are set to be prolonged further, it was learned Wednesday.
It is nearly two years and six months since Tepco applied for safety checks for the reactors in Niigata Prefecture. Under new regulations put in place after the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011, a reactor must pass screenings by the Nuclear Regulation Authority before going back online.
The NRA’s secretariat reported at a regular NRA meeting on Wednesday that Tepco is not yet ready to undergo an examination of the company’s new method for assessing the degree of quake-resistance at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa reactors.
Preparations for the examination, including completing documents, can take as long as six months, sources familiar with the matter said.
The reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant are boiling water reactors, the same type as those at Tepco’s disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The secretariat also said documents are largely ready for screening items other than those relating to quake-resistance and that these could serve as models for other boiling water reactors.
The NRA unveiled a plan to resume safety checks for the No. 2 reactor at Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane nuclear plant in Shimane Prefecture and the No. 2 reactor at Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa plant in Miyagi Prefecture. Both are boiling water reactors.