Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co on 14 March restarted a reactor at its Ohi nuclear plant in Fukui prefecture, just 14km from Kansai’s Takahama station, where two reactors (units 3 and 4) are already in operation.
Residents are worried about the lack of an adequate evacuation plan in the event accidents hit both the Takahama and Ohi complexes at the same time, Japanese media reported.
Kansai Electric aims to start commercial operation of Ohi 3 in early April. Ohi 4 is also expected to restart in May, having cleared the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s (NRA’s) safety review along with the Ohi 3 in May 2017. NRA approved Kansai's plan for strengthening the units and subsequently conducted pre-operation inspections to confirm that the safety countermeasure equipment complies with the approved construction plan at the plant. The governor of Fukui prefecture approved the restart of Ohi 3&4 in November.
Following the shutdown of Japan's reactors after Fukushima, Ohi 3&4, both 1180MWe pressurised water reactors (PWRs), had been permitted to resume operation in August 2012 but were taken offline again for NRA inspections in September 2013. Kansai Electric President Shigeki Iwane said in a statement, "We will carefully take steps forward placing top priority on safety."
Ohi 3 was the sixth reactor of Japan's 42 operable reactors to go back online under new regulatory standards introduced following the March 2011 Fukushima accident. The others are Kyushu's Sendai 1&2; Shikoku's Ikata 3; and Kansai's Takahama 3&4. Another 18 reactors have applied to restart. Kyushu Electric Power Company expects to restart Genkai 3&4 in Saga prefecture later this year.
Under the current national energy policy, the government plans to generate 20-22% of total electricity using nuclear power in fiscal 2030. Renewables are also expected to account for 20-22%, with coal accounting for 26%, LNG 27% and oil 3%.