Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (Tepco) has suspended fuel loading at unit 7 of its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP in Nigata prefecture just two days after it started because of an equipment problem, NHK reported. Tepco said in a statement that there were no safety-related issues. No further details were provided.

Although Kashiwazaki-Kariwa was unaffected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami all seven of the plant’s reactors had been offline for two to three years following the earlier 2007 Niigata-Chuetsu earthquake, which caused damage to the site. Work has since been carried out to improve the plant's earthquake resistance. Tepco applied for NRA approval of its design and construction plan for Kashiwazaki-Kariwa units 6&7 (1356 MWe advanced boiling water reactors) in September 2013. These were the first Japanese boiling water reactors to be considered for restart after all Japan’s reactors were shut down in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

NRA cleared safety screenings for the two units in 2017 but security breaches and problems in completing safety upgrades caused delays. NRA prohibited the transportation or loading of reactor fuel stored at the plant in April 2021 due to insufficient counterterrorism measures, ordering Tepco to take corrective action. In January, NRA confirmed that those measures had been taken and preparations for restart continued.

Image: Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture