Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Co on 20 May suspended operations at of Sendai 2 nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture after again failing to meet a deadline on the construction of additional safety systems required by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), Asahi Shimbun reported.
Kyushu Electric failed to meet the 21 May deadline to complete facilities stipulated by NRA which will enable reactors to be operated and controlled remotely in the event of emergencies, such as acts of terrors and aircraft crashes. The regulations were drawn up in 2013 in response to the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident.
NRA obliges operators to complete such facilities within five years after construction plans have been approved.
Delays in construction had already forced Kyushu Electric to shut down Sendai 1 on 16 March. Kansai Electric Power Co is also expected to halt reactor operations for the same reason.
The Japan Times reported earlier that Kansai Electric Power Company is expected to suspend operations later this year at Takahama 3&4 in Fukui Prefecture.
In February Kansai also said the restart of three ageing reactors at Takahama (units 1 and 2) and Mihama NPP (unit 3), both in Fukui Prefecture, will be postponed until at least later 2020 because it needs more time to meet safety standards.
Kyushu Electric will regularly inspect the Sendai 2 reactor and aims to resume its operation on 26 January 2021. It plans to restart Sendai 1 on 26 December this year.
Kyushu said it will use a thermal power plant to ensure a stable electricity supply during the suspension of the two reactors and expects fuel costs for the thermal power plant to increase to about JPY25 billion ($232 million).
Unit 3 at Kyushu Electric’s Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture is scheduled to undergo a regular inspection outage for about two months from mid-September. This will leave the company with only one of its four reactors online.
Following the accident, Japan shut down all its 54 nuclear reactors to reassess their safety and subsequently decided to decommission 14 reactors, including all six Fukushima Daiichi and all four Fukushima Daiini.
So far, nine of Japan's operable reactors have cleared inspections confirming they meet Japan's new regulatory safety standards and have resumed operation, with five years to complete additional facilities. These are Kyushu's Sendai 1&2 and Genkai 3&4; Shikoku's Ikata 3; and Kansai's Takahama 3&4 and Ohi 3&4. Another 16 reactors have applied to restart.