Three years after the Tokai nuclear power plant has been shut off, its operator Japan Atomic Power Co. (JAPC) has applied for safety checks as it looks to restart its reactor. The 35-year old reactor has been damaged in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and in line with the government’s new regulations, safety checks must be done before restarting it.
JAPC, which is owned jointly by the nation’s electric utilities, are threatened by bankruptcy because of the shutdown of its two other nuclear plants. Funded by these utilities, it has sought for safety checks to “demonstrate that it is making progress toward reactor resumption” to keep the financial backing of the utilities. The Tokai No. 2 plant in Ibaraki is the company’s only hope for now because its other Tsuruga plant in Fukui is situated above an active fault, rendering it nearly impossible to be in operations again. However, the 35-year old reactor is not updated with fireproof electric cables required by the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s (NRA) new safety standards and may be roadblock in getting the nuclear regulating body’s approval.
The company’s update of safety measures to the reactor will be finished by 2016. To decrease emissions of radioactive materials in the event of an accident, the reactor will be outfitted with a filter-attached venting machine. It has also spared no cost in making the facility quake-resistant by 50 percent more than its previous standard before the 2011 disaster. To allay concerns on possible tsunami, tidal walls of up to 18 meters high have been constructed around the facility to keep the impact of tsunami hitting it at bay. With all these, the plant is set for its safety checks except for the fireproof cables and with the reactors age, it is quite impossible to replace it with such. JAPC is considering an alternative of painting the cables with fireproof paint but it is not yet certain if the NRA will accept it.
[via The Asahi Shimbun]