The Japanese government has allowed the restart of the first two Japanese reactors since the Fukushima Daiichi accident in March 2011.
After Fukushima, operating reactors were shut down to undergo special safety checks (stress tests). Safety tests showed that the reactor could withstand an earthquake and tsunami as powerful as those that hit the Fukushima Daiichi plant, according to NHK news, published by Japan Atomic Industrial Forum.
The units restarted are Ohi 3&4, MHI-designed PWRs that started up in the early 1990s. Operator Kansai Electric Power Co said that restart of unit 3 to full power would take place by 8 July, and of unit 4 by 24 July, NHK reported.
In a televised address on 8 June, Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda said that serious power shortages are anticipated this summer without nuclear power and that rising fuel prices are expected to impact electricity prices.
“To preserve and safeguard the livelihoods of the Japanese people we should restart units 3&4 of the Ohi nuclear power station,” Noda said.
Japanese predictions suggest that if the summer is as hot as it was in 2010, even with efforts to save power, there will be a 15% power supply shortage in the service area of the Kansai Electric Power Co. This power shortage could be decreased to less than 1% with restart of Ohi 3&4, according to preliminary calculations.
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