Kyushu Electric Power Company said on 1 October that it will restart units 1&2 at its Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture about one month earlier than planned. It said progress in building additional mandatory safety systems had proceeded more quickly than expected.

Kyushu suspended operation of the reactors in March and May, respectively, after failing to meet the deadline for constructing the required facilities. According to new government regulations, drawn up in the wake of the Fukushima accident, nuclear plants must put in place facilities to ensure the safety of reactors in the event of emergencies such as acts of terrorism and aircraft crashes.

Kyushu Electric said it will resume operation of Sendai 1 in late November and Sendai 2 in late December. Both reactors are 890MWe pressurised water reactors.

Kyushu said the earlier restart became possible after it streamlined construction work. Kyushu emphasised that it will carefully carry out inspections and other work while prioritising safety. The earlier restart will ease the region's dependence on coal and gas.

Coal and gas accounted for 30% (2.1GWe) and 11% (760MWe) shares of Kyushu's winter power generation in 2019-20, according to government data. Kyushu consumed 3.8m tonnes of coal and 510,000 tonnes of LNG in the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020, according to company figures.