[Denki Shimbun, 11 November] Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) began loading fuel rods into Unit 7 of its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant on 8 November. All 872 rods are expected to be loaded by 16 November, after which safety confirmation tests will be conducted without starting up the reactor. Reactor systems are being inspected at all seven reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, which have stood idle since the plant was struck by an earthquake in July 2007. Component-based verification at Unit 7, for which inspection is most advanced, is almost complete. System-based tests, which began on 18 September, require fuel to be loaded into the reactor. These tests could be completed by early December, bringing the reactor one step to closer to being restarted. At the time of the earthquake, three of the seven reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa - units 3, 4 and 7 - were in operation and shut down safely as tremors began. The other units were undergoing periodic inspections at the time.