(Sankei: July 15, 2015 – p. 2)
Kyushu Electric Power Co., Inc. announced on July 14 the working schedule for restarting Reactor No.1 of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant (Kagoshima Prefecture). The company now plans to spend about one month inspecting the reactor cooling system and conducting a functional test of the emergency power generator, aiming to restart the nuclear reactor around mid-August. The company will classify the potential problems into five levels and shut down the restarted reactor if necessary.
The company will spend about one week more than the regular period of two weeks for the inspection before restarting the reactor. The Sendai Reactor No. 1 has been suspended for more than four years since May 2011. The company will carefully inspect to see whether there is any corrosion in the pipes. The company will conduct an emergency drill at the end of this month based on the scenario of a serious incident.
The potential problems have been classified into five levels from 0 to 4 according to seriousness. Among the five levels, the company will announce problems at level 2 and above. Level 4 includes problems as serious as leakage from the pipes in the nuclear reactor containment vessel or abnormalities in the cooling pump. If such a problem occurs, the company will shut down the reactor.
The company’s Tokyo Branch Office Deputy General Manager Shinji Yuge emphasized, “We will proceed with the work schedule while placing priority on safety.” According to a company official, the company reportedly plans to restart Sendai Reactor No.1 on August 10 and begin power generation and electricity transmission around August 13.
However, the inspection by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is still underway. If a deficiency is found, the commission will require the company to rectify it, which may delay the reactivation.
In the meantime, the commission will officially approve in a regular meeting scheduled for July 15 the “inspection document” to confirm that Reactor No. 3 of Shikoku Electric Power Co., Inc.’s Ikata Nuclear Power Plant (Ehime Prefecture) is in compliance with the new regulatory standards.
Ikata will be the third nuclear plant to pass the inspection under the new regulatory standards following Reactors No. 1 and No. 2 of the Sendai plant and Reactor No. 3 and No. 4 of Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc.’s Takahama Nuclear Power Plant (Fukui Prefecture). The commission will issue an authorization on the same day that will allow the company to modify the plant’s machinery and equipment.
The Ikata plant applied for the inspection in July 2013. The commission accepted in May the “draft of the inspection document,” which is a de facto certificate of compliance. The commission has examined about 3,500 opinions gathered during a “public comments” period of one month and modified the draft.