JAPAN REOPENS PROCEDURES TO RESTART IDLED NUCLEAR REACTORS
12 Jul 2013 11:19
TOKYO, July 8 (Bernama) -- Japan on Monday reopened procedures to allow idled
nuclear reactors to be restarted, setting new nuclear regulations that reflect
lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi power plant disaster, Xinhua
news agency reported press local media as saying.
While power utilities rushed to file applications with the Nuclear Regulation
Authority (NRA) for safety assessments of 10 reactors, none of them are likely
to restart soon as it could take about six months for each process to finish,
Kyodo News Agency said.
The NRA describes the level of the nuclear regulations as the world's
Kyodo said utilities may choose to give up efforts to restart some of the
country's 50 commercial reactors and abandon them rather than investing in
expensive safety measures.
Four regional utilities filed applications for the restart of 10 reactors at
five nuclear power plants in Hokkaido, Fukui, Ehime, and Kagoshima prefectures
Among those applying for restarts, reactors that could advance others include
the No. 3 unit at Shikoku Electric Power Co.'s Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture,
which has been found not to have geologic faults that need to be checked and has
already prepared a newly required seismic-isolated emergency response centre.
The regulations also stipulate reactors must have a venting system with
filters that can reduce the amount of radioactive substances when pressure needs
to be released from reactor containers during emergencies.
However, pressurised water reactors such as the No. 3 unit at the Ikata plant
are given a five-year moratorium to meet the requirement.
Japan entered a period of no nuclear power time in May last year, but the
government has allowed the restart of two reactors at Kansai Electric Power
Co.'s Oi plant in July the same year to tackle power shortage problems in summer
in western Japan.
No other reactors have since resumed operations.
After a reactor is found to satisfy the NRA's new regulations, the operator
will seek approval of locals to restart them.