The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) will be inspecting Japan’s two remaining operating nuclear reactors to see if they will be able to remain online after July when the new safety requirements will take effect. The NRA will be doing a safety assessment of reactors No 3 and 4 at the Oi plant in Fukui Prefecture and then submit their assessment by the end of June.
If the two reactors have no safety issues, they will be allowed to continue operating until September and then undergo mandatory routine checkups. A panel was convened, consisting of regulators and Kansai Electric, the operator of the Oi plants, officials and they had their first meeting this Friday. Kansai said they plan to make all the necessary changes by the end of June to meet the new requirements. For example, they will be temporarily using the meeting room next to the No. 3 and 4 reactor control room as the energy command center, as it is one of the new rules the NRA will be imposing. This room will serve that purpose until a seismic-isolated building will be finished by 2015. NRA Commissioner Toyoshi Fuketa said that they need to explain it further since he finds the meeting room near the reactors a bit problematic as a command center in case anything happened to the reactors.
Another issue that the reactors face is whether or not active faults run under the Oi plant. Experts have been divided on this issue and the NRA will convene another team to look into the validity of the arguments. Kansai stands by its view that they have not confirmed any active faults that pose a threat to the plants at this time. Meanwhile, the operators of the 48 other nuclear reactors that are currently offline will have to wait until the new requirements are in full force before they can apply for a restart of their respective plants.
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan