Last Kansai reactor goes off line

21 February 2012

Only two of Japan's nuclear power reactors now remain in operation after Kansai Electric Power Company's Takahama unit 3 entered a scheduled inspection outage.

Takahama (Image: Eunheui)

The closure of the 830 MWe pressurised water reactor leaves only two nuclear power plants - Tokyo Electric Power Company's Kashiwazaki Kariwa unit 6 and Hokkaido Electric Power Company's Tomari unit 3 - operating in Japan. Prior to the Fukushima Daiichi accident of March 2011, Japan had relied on 54 nuclear reactors to supply nearly one-third of its electricity.

Since the Fukushima Daiichi accident, all Japan's nuclear reactors have been undergoing two-phase stress tests at the direction of the Japanese government. The first phase, to determine whether the plants can withstand large earthquakes and tsunamis, is carried out while reactors are off line for periodic inspections. This effectively means that all plants which have entered scheduled maintenance outages since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami have had to remain off line awaiting government approval before they can resume operations.

Tests have now been completed at a number of plants, and Japan's nuclear safety regulator, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, recently endorsed the findings from the first units to complete the tests - Kansai's Ohi 3 and 4 - although the plants are still awaiting permission to restart.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News