Genkai unit 4 supplying power again

19 June 2018

Unit 4 of Kyushu Electric Power Company's Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture today became the ninth Japanese reactor to resume power generation. The 1180 MWe pressurised water reactor is expected to re-enter commercial operation in mid-July.

Genkai plant - 460 (Kyushu)
The four-unit Genkai plant (Image: Kyushu)

The utility began the process of extracting the control rods from the reactor on 16 June. Kyushu announced that the unit had resumed electricity generation at 2.00pm today.

"We will increase gradually the generator output and check the plant conditions at each output level," Kyushu said. "We will continue to make every effort to work with the Nuclear Regulation Authority's (NRA's) inspections, to carry out the remaining procedure carefully without [necessarily] sticking to the schedule, and putting the utmost priority on safety."

The utility expects Genkai 4 to resume commercial operation in mid-July.

Kyushu submitted applications to the NRA in July 2013 to restart Genkai 3 and 4, which had been offline since December 2010 and December 2011, respectively. In January 2017, the NRA confirmed the two 1180 MWe PWRs meet new regulatory standards. The Saga prefectural governor gave his approval three months later for the restart of the units, following the prefectural assembly's adoption of a resolution permitting their restart.

Following NRA pre-operation inspections of the units to confirm that the safety countermeasure equipment complies with the approved construction plan at the Genkai plant, Kyushu began loading fuel into the core of Genkai 3 on 16 February. The process to restart the unit began on 23 March and the reactor began generating electricity again on 18 April. That unit returned to commercial operation on 16 May.

Genkai 4 is the ninth of Japan's 39 operable reactors which have so far cleared inspections confirming they meet the new regulatory safety standards and have resumed operation. The others are: Kyushu's Sendai units 1 and 2 and Genkai unit 3; Shikoku's Ikata unit 3; and Kansai's Takahama units 3 and 4 and Ohi units 3 and 4. Another 16 reactors have applied to restart.

Nuclear energy is expected to account for 20-22% of Japan's power generation in 2030, with a similar portion coming from renewable sources. The remainder of the country's power generation will be met by coal (26%), LNG (27%) and oil (3%), according to Japan's latest energy policy. That policy supports "utilising nuclear power generation whose safety is confirmed".

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News