Fuel loading for Japanese reactor restart

06 July 2015

Nuclear fuel will be loaded at Sendai 1 tomorrow, marking a significant step on its road to becoming the first Japanese reactor to restart, later this year.

The two 890 MWe pressurized water reactors at Sendai were taken offline for periodic inspections in May and September 2011, respectively, and have remained so for almost four years while Japan has rebuilt its nuclear safety framework in response to the accident at Fukushima Daiichi.

This work included creating a new independent nuclear safety regulator, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which developed extensive new safety requirements as well as a multi-step pubilc process under which power companies have upgraded their plants to the NRA's satisfaction.

Sendai restarts have been prioritised, in part due to local support in Kagoshima prefecture. Plant owner Kyushu Electric Power Company announced today that all inspections ahead had been completed and fuel loading would start tomorrow. Sendai 1 will be the first to restart, and the loading of fuel into the reactor vessel is a significant operational step.

Subject to the attentions of the NRA, Sendai 1 could return to normal power generation around September. Around two months later it should be joined by Sendai 2. Another 15 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