More obstacles to Japanese NPP restarts

21 July 2016

Japan's Kansai Electric Power Company (Kepco) has filed an appeal to the Osaka High Court seeking to allow it to restart units 3 and 4 at its Takahama NPP in Fukui Prefecture. The appeal aims to reverse a ruling earlier this week by the Otsu District Court, which rejected the utility's request to remove a temporary injunction issued in March to shut the reactors on safety grounds. The Otsu District Court issued that injunction following a petition filed by 29 residents of Shiga Prefecture, to the south of Fukui, claiming there were doubts about the station’s seismic standards and about new regulatory standards brought in following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident.

Currently units 1 and 2 at Kyushu Electric Power Company’s Sendai NPP in Kagoshima Prefecture are Japan’s only operating nuclear power reactors, with all the others remaining closed following Fukushima. However, the newly elected governor of Kagoshima, Satoshi Mitazono, said on 14 July that he wants the units to be closed, pending further checks on geological fault lines and evacuation routes. Mitazono, backed by an anti-nuclear movement, defeated incumbent Yuichiro Ito, who had allowed the two reactors to be restarted last year.

On 18 July, Shikoku Electric announced that it needs to replace a part of primary coolant pump facility at unit 3 of its Ikata NPP to rectify a malfunction, Nikkei Shimbun reported. Shikoku Electric said it may now be difficult to restart the unit in July as planned.Nikkei Shimbun says the restart will probably be deferred until early August. 

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