Sendai restart now in regulator's hands

27 October 2014

Sendai 460 (Kyushu)
Sendai (Image: Kyushu Electric Power Company)

Japan's first reactor restart is moving to the end of the regulatory phase. Kyushu Electric Power Company has now submitted all the documentation to restart Sendai units 1 and 2 and a final decision lies with the Nuclear Regulation Authority. 

A new regulatory regime was created after the March 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi and by mid-2013 the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) had rewritten the country's requirements for nuclear power plant safety. Power companies soon put in ten applications for restart which have progressed slowly while Sendai has been prioritised, in part due to local support in Kagoshima prefecture.

Kyushu's technical plan to meet the new regulations was approved by the NRA on 10 September this year and the company has now made the engineering changes at the plant itself. A report on the changes to unit 1 was submitted on 8 October and this has now been followed with the same for unit 2, submitted on 24 October. The unit 1 report also include details of changes to Kyushu's operational routines and emergency management procedures. All these are to be checked and inspected by the NRA in a process which represents the last technical challenge for Kyushu before potential approval for the two reactors at Sendai to restart.

Kyushu is also required to gain an informal approval from leaders of Kagoshima prefecture, and an engagement program has been underway for several weeks. The federal government retains the ultimate say in whether nuclear power plants will restart.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News