Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co on 9 May restarted Ohi 4 in Fukui Prefecture, which had been closed since September 2013. Kansai is aiming to for commercial operation of the reactor in early June.
Ohi 4 becomes the eighth Japanese reactor to restart following the Fukushima accident. Its twin the 1180MW Ohi 3 pressurised water was brought back online in March. Two other reactors at Kansai’s nearby Takahama nuclear plant also restarted in 2017. However, safety concerns remain high among residents worried about the lack of adequate evacuation plans for both nuclear plants. The central government has said it will carry out a drill in the summer based on the scenario of a simultaneous disaster at the two plants.
In May 2014, the Fukui District Court accepted a filing by antinuclear residents and ordered Kansai not to restart Ohi 3&4. However, both units have been brought back online as the court order has not been finalised. The case is currently being heard at the Kanazawa branch of the Nagoya High Court.
Kansai initially planned to restart Ohi 3 in January and Ohi 4 in March, but the schedule was delayed to confirm whether any parts were affected by Kobe Steel Ltd.'s product data manipulation scandal. Meanwhile, Kansai Electric has decided to retire Ohi 1&2, which would have been in operation for 40 years in 2019.
Progress at Genkai
In April, fuel loading was completed at Kyushu Electric Power Company’s Genkai 4 in Saga Prefecture. Kyushu Electric has now filed an application with the Nuclear Regulation Authority for a pre-startup inspection.
Genkai 4, a 1127MWe pressurised water reactor unit, began commercial operation in 1997. There are four PWR units at the Genkai site, but Kyushu Electric intends to decommission Genkai 1&2. Genkai 3 went online in March 2018, becoming Japan’s seventh unit to be restarted after the accident.
The units that have restarted are Kyushu Electric's Sendai 1&2 and Genkai 3; Shikoku Electric's Ikata 3; and Kansai's Takahama 3&4 and Ohi 3&4. Shikoku also recently announced plans to retire Ikata 2.