All but two of Japan’s nuclear reactors have gone offline following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The remaining reactors, located in Fukui Prefecture, are under the supervision of Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) and will go through inspection under the new nuclear safety regulations. Operations in reactor number 3 of the Oi nuclear plant will cease on Tuesday of this week, while reactor number 4 will follow on the 15th.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has established new set of standards for nuclear operators. It will begin its inspection on reactor 3 on Monday night while the facility will stop operations early Tuesday. Reactor number 4 will also go through NRA’s inspection beginning September 15. It will be the first time when all of Japan’s nuclear plants cease operations in about 14 months. The country has been depending on crude oil and other fossil fuels for energy since the meltdown of TEPCO’s Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011.
Back in July, nuclear plant operators sought the NRA’s permission to resume operations in ten of the country’s ten nuclear reactors. The applications were made for five different nuclear plants, three of which are in Hokkaido, while the rest are located in four plants in western Japan. Before the country’s nuclear watchdog issues its green light to the facilities, all have to go through thorough assessment first following the new set of nuclear standards. Such will still have to take months.
Included in the new safety standards is the need to assure safety in the event of an earthquake. Should there be any fault line under the nuclear plants, it has to be guaranteed that it remains inactive. As for the Oi plant, if NRA finds the fault underneath it is active, both reactors numbers 3 and 4 will completely cease operations.