Japan’s new nuclear plant safety regulations require the installation of facilities to allow remote cooling of nuclear reactors in the event of a terrorist attack. The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has decided to give its de facto approval on Aug. 3 for plans for such facilities submitted by the No. 3 and 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama nuclear power plant (Fukui Prefecture). Applications to the NRA for safety evaluations of such facilities are in process for 11 reactors at seven plants nationwide. The No. 3 and 4 reactors at the Takahama plant are the first to pass the screening.
Plant operators are obligated to construct “specific safety facilities” under the new regulations that came into force in 2013. These facilities enable cooling to be performed by remote from a “second control room” in the event that reactor cooling cannot function due to a terrorist or other attack. The regulations require that the facility be located 100 meters or more from the reactor buildings, but the exact location and design have not been disclosed.
The NRA will compile a report on the inspection results, which constitutes a de facto certificate, at a closed meeting on Aug. 2, and that will be approved at the NRA’s regular meeting on Aug. 3.
The No. 3 and 4 reactors at the Takahama nuclear power plant restarted in February this year but have been offline since March when their operations were suspended by a temporary injunction from the Otsu District Court. Kansai Electric Power Co. will set up the specific safety facilities at the two reactors by 2020. (Abridged)