Ikata 3 back-up emergency building planned

19 January 2016

Shikoku Electric Power Company has applied to the Japanese regulator to construct a back-up emergency response building at unit 3 of its Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime prefecture.

Ikata NPP - 400 (NRA)
The three-unit Ikata plant (Image: NRA)

The utility announced on 14 January that it had applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to permit a change in its reactor installation licence. Such permission is required before it can construct the back-up emergency response building, a requirement in new safety standards introduced in July 2013.

The facility will feature equipment that can reduce the reactor coolant pressure boundary; cool the inside of the reactor and containment vessels; prevent damage to the containment vessel due to excessive pressure or a hydrogen explosion; an additional back-up power supply; and a control room for operating this equipment in an emergency.

Installation of the back-up emergency response building will be completed in fiscal year 2019, Shikoku said.

In addition, Shikoku has applied to the NRA for permission to install air-cooled emergency gas turbine generators at the unit. These additional generators - which the utility is voluntarily installing - should be in place in fiscal 2017, it said.

Under Japan's revised safety standards, plant operators are required to add certain safety-enhancing equipment within five years of receiving NRA's approval of a reactor engineering work program.

Shikoku submitted an application to the NRA in July 2013 for the necessary permissions to restart Ikata 3, an 846 MWe pressurized water reactor. These approvals include: permission to make changes to the reactor installation; approval of its construction plan to strengthen the plant; and, final safety inspections to ensure the unit meets new safety requirements.

The utility's engineering work program for Ikata 3 was approved by the NRA approved in July 2015. That approval - which means the NRA considers the reactor, and the plant as a whole, to be safe for operation - represented by far the major part of the licensing process.

Unit 1 of Kyushu Electric Power Company's Sendai plant in Kagoshima prefecture was the first of Japan's operable reactors to resume operation since September 2013 when it restarted last August. The restart of unit 2 followed in October. Kansai Electric Power Company has approval to restart units 3 and 4 of its Takahama plant in Fukui prefecture. The company has already completed loading fuel into unit 3, which could restart by the end of this month.

Another 20 reactors are moving through the restart process, which has been prioritised to bring on the most-needed reactors first, in the localities and prefectures more supportive of restart.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News