Regulator completes safety review of Takahama units

09 October 2015

The restart of units 3 and 4 of Kansai Electric Power Company's Takahama nuclear power plant moved a step closer today with Japan's nuclear regulator confirming the units meet new safety requirements.

Takahama 460  (NRA)
Kansai's four-unit Takahama plant (Image: NRA)

Kansai submitted a joint application to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in July 2013 for the necessary permissions to restart both units. These approvals include making changes to the reactor installations; its construction plan to strengthen the plant; and its operational safety programs for the units.

The NRA gave Kansai approval in February to make changes to the reactor installations at both units. That approval - which meant the NRA considered the two reactors, and the plant as a whole, to be safe for operation - represented by far the major part of the licensing process. Approval of the company's construction plan for unit 3 was given on 4 August , while that for unit 4 was given today.

The NRA also today approved Kansai's operational safety plans for the Takahama plant. These include emergency response plans in case of fire, flooding or other natural disasters, or a serious accident.

Now that the utility has been granted all approvals in the three-step review process, the units - both 870 MWe pressurized water reactors - must undergo pre-start-up inspections before their operation can resume. 'Pre-use' inspections got under way at unit 3 on 17 August.

Units 3 and 4 of its Takahama plant in Fukui prefecture have remained offline since being shut for periodic inspections in February 2012 and July 2011, respectively. Kansai reportedly aims to restart the two reactors by the end of this year.

So far, just one of Japan's nuclear power reactors - unit 1 of Kyushu Electric Power Company's Sendai plant - has cleared the regulatory restart process and resumed operation. Sendai 1 began operating again on 11 August, with unit 2 expected to restart in the coming weeks.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News