Go-ahead for Shimane 3

29 April 2005

A permit has been issued in Japan for work to commence on building a third nuclear power unit at Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane site.

Shoichi Nakagawa, the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, issued the permit to Chugoku on 26 April upon confirmation of the unit’s safety by the Nuclear Safety Commission and Atomic Energy Commission.

Shimane already hosts two BWRs: a 460MWe unit completed in 1973 and an 820MWe unit completed in 1988. Final approval to construct unit 3, a 1373MWe advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) came after a 13-year process.

The Chamber of Commerce of the Shimane prefecture town of Kashima petitioned for the unit’s construction in 1992. The suggestion was taken to Chugoku by Kashima’s mayor in 1994 and Chugoku applied to the prefecture for permission to build in 1997. By 2000, the town and prefecture had agreed on planning issues and in 2001 an application to construct was finally made to the trade ministry.

Chugoku began preliminary construction work on the project in March 2004, and intends to recommence work in September this year. It is hoped the unit will begin commercial operation in December 2011.

  • Fuel loading has begun at Shika 2, a 1358MWe ABWR. Hokuriku Electric Power Co. will load 872 fuel assemblies over the coming weeks and hope to achieve criticality in late May. According to plans, first power would come in July and commercial operation begin in March 2006.

The next generation of reactors have a good chance of overcoming many of the public perception problems that turn people off nuclear

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