Japanese utility rejects request to close Sendai NPP

7 September 2016

Kyushu Electric Power Company on 4 September rejected a request from Satoshi Mitazono, the governor of Japan's Kagoshima prefecture, to immediately suspend operation of units 1 and 2 of the Sendai NPP for safety checks. The company said it will continue operating the units until they enter routine scheduled outages later this year. Mitazono said during his election campaign that he would demand that Kyushu Electric should suspend operation of the two Sendai units while their safety and evacuation plans are re-examined. However, as governor, he has no legal power to halt operation of the reactors.

Kyushu president and CEO Michiaki Uryu said the Sendai units will remain online until they are stopped for scheduled outages. Unit 1 is scheduled to begin a routine outage on 6 October and unit 2 on 16 December. The company said, however, that in addition to the routine inspections, it will examine the units' reactor vessels and the plant's used fuel storage facility, as requested by Mitazono. Kyushu said it will also cooperate in a review of the Sendai plant's evacuation plans and will provide additional vehicles for the evacuation of elderly residents. The company pledged to provide local residents with more information about the plant in the event of an accident or natural disaster.

However, Kyushu said it would not conduct further studies on active faults in the area of the Sendai plant, which the governor had sought, as extensive studies have already been carried out. Following the closureof all of Japan’s NPPs in the wake of Fukushima, Sendai 1 was the first NPP unit to be restarted, last August, followed by Sendai 2, in October.

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