Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) has restarted the first of its shutdown reactors, after authorisation from the governor of Niigata prefecture and local mayors, as well as earlier approval from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA).
The 1315MWe Kashiwazaki-Kariwa 6 reactor should reach full power in June. Prior to resuming commercial operation, the unit will undergo a comprehensive load evaluation, which is normally the final step in a periodic inspection.
Meanwhile, eight municipalities that either host or have a nuclear plant sited nearby have called on Tepco to restart its offline units, subject to approval by the government. The Futaba regional energy policy promotion council, which comprises civic leaders and representatives from the municipalities, sent a request to NISA and Tepco president Tsunehisa Katsumata asking for further efforts by Tepco to "restore confidence", while also calling on the government to "confirm safety".
• Tepco has reported an 18% fall in net income for fiscal year 2002, but a 2.3% increase (to 282TWh) in the volume of electricity sold.
The company said that the fall in income to ¥165.2 billion ($1.402 billion) was largely due to an exceptional "securities appraisal loss".
Ordinary expenses fell by 4.9% to just over ¥4.668 billion ($39.6 million). The increased fuel costs for thermal plants due to the suspensions of its nuclear plants was made up for by "declines in expenses for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel that had risen temporarily in the previous fiscal year and a drop in interest payment costs resulting from falling interest rates."