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Nuclear reactor in Shikoku gets OK to restart from regulator

21 Comments

The Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) on Wednesday gave the OK for Shikoku Electric Power Co to restart the No. 3 reactor at its Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture.

The safety approval is still only one of three needed before the reactor can go back online. The consent of local authorities, which is seen as a formality, is also required, along with operational checks.

The NRA signed off on a provisional assessment that the Ikata reactor meets new design standards introduced after Fukushima.

The decision will be a boost for operator Shikoku Electric, which relied on Ikata -- its sole nuclear power plant -- for about 40% of its electricity output before the meltdowns at Fukushima led to the shutdown of all the country's reactors.

The Ikata No. 3 reactor started operations in 1994 and has a capacity of 890 megawatts.

The future of the Ikata plant's two other reactors, each with capacity of 566 megawatts, is unclear. One is almost 40 years old, which is the lifetime limit for reactors in Japan without a special extension that will be costly to achieve.

Shikoku Electric hasn't applied for restarts of that reactor or the No. 2 unit, which began operations in 1982.

For the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, resuming nuclear power, which provided about a third of Japan's electricity supply before Fukushima, is key to lifting the economy out of two decades of anemic growth.

The country has switched to fossil fuels to compensate for the closure of reactors, pushing imports of liquefied natural gas to a record-high 7.78 trillion yen in the financial year ended March 31.

Four other reactors operated by Kansai Electric Power and Kyushu Electric Power have passed through the first stage of regulatory checks.

© Japan Today/Thomson Reuters

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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In the words of Theoden King...."So it begins".

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Stupidity knows no bounds. Only last week. Big earthquake in Oita.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Ikata itself is very well off for what is essentially a small fishing town and it's all related to the power plant being there. Some of the public facilities in the town are quite lavish given the population.

Some very well paid workers living in places like Yawatahama really help keep that local economy afloat. Hard to see that there will be much local opposition to the plant restarting.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There is nothing anyone could do to stop the start-ups except for a full participating public voting NO to the LDP and the DPJ. Our only choice is to keep our fingers crossed or move out.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

More good news, lower carbon emissions on the way!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

So, little by little, they are restarting the old nuclear reactors in the same old facilities. Will the result be something similar to what we've already seen ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Earthquakes and tsunami aside for a minute.

50 meters per second winds in Shikoku right now means 112 mph, 180 kph, Beaufort 15. These power plants had better be ruggedly built.

Converter.

http://www.csgnetwork.com/windspeedconv.html

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Shikoku Power Co Ikata NPP must still obtain agreements from local governments and obtain NRA approval for construction plans and the NRA have to inspect the facilities sometime in winter or later, which all means no reactor restart before 2016.

While the assumption for the maximum height of tsunami waves was raised from 4.1 meters to 8.1 meters, Shikoku Electric has not installed seawalls, claiming the reactor sits 10 meters above sea level.

The reactor No1 is 38 years and therefore coming to the end of its 40-year-life-cycle. The cost of decommissioning the reactor will be ¥100 billion. The cost of the safety updates at the NPP's is ¥2.5 trillion to date.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So, where money is involved, the cost of future human lives do not count, do they? Do humans ever learn?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@zichi

Shikoku Electric has not installed seawalls, claiming the reactor sits 10 meters above sea level.

Yes that would be a concern elsewhere, but the reactor sits on the Seto Sea coast and the Pacific is blocked here by the very long Sadmisaki Penninsula, which has a ridge with an average elevation of about 100-150 meters. A tsunami here higher than 10meters would be geographically impossible (tsunamis don't make hooking right turns after a narrow channel into a broad expanse of water like the Seto Sea) unless it was due to something like an asteroid impact... at which point the reactor may be the least of people's concerns.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Supey11, don't discount Godzilla on Ikata.

"In Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, Godzilla approaches the nuclear plant, and the actions of the Japan Self Defense Forces are stalled in action against the monster, fearing that a direct attack could cause a nuclear explosion and destroy the planet. Thankfully, the Super X-III weapon comes to the rescue and freezes the beast before he can do any more harm." Wiki

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Supey, if there's one thing nature keeps doing it's dumping our 'sound and definitive' impossible all over our stupid heads.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nice one @nandakandamanda! I actually saw that movie, but didn't realize then it was Ikata. So yes, as YongYang points out, here is a case of nature redefining the impossible!

(but seriously, anyone suggesting Ikata is susceptible to a tsunami is geographically ignorant, and the current typhoon is pretty weak compared to much stronger ones in the past that Ikata stood up to perfectly fine... but that's not to say an earthquake is out of the question, or asteroid impact.)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Supey11

I quoted what the Shikoku Power Co said in its statement, that they and the NRA had raised from 4.1 meters to 8.1 meters for possible tsunami. If there's zero possibility of a tsunami striking the plant then why raise the possible height? You are also assuming a powerful earthquake couldn't happen in the Seto Inland Sea. The sea around that plant is more than 100m deep.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@zichi

If there's zero possibility of a tsunami striking the plant then why raise the possible height? You are also assuming a powerful earthquake couldn't happen in the Seto Inland Sea.

I didn't assume anything nor claim zero possibility of a tsunami. To answer, I'll just quote myself from above: "A tsunami here higher than 10meters would be geographically impossible".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not true Supey, there's this big, huge in fact, thing called: Chance. It increase over time. Never rule it out. Especially when you're thing that lives for a mere 70 years-ish, seriously, what DO you know?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Supey11

Probably you are correct but in the back of my mind similar facts were stated at the Fukushima NPP. There a few fault lines nearby. I couldn't find any details of the safety updates and what Shikoku Power did to update the safety of the plant and include anti terrorist defences.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Zichi

While the assumption for the maximum height of tsunami waves was raised from 4.1 meters to 8.1 meters, Shikoku Electric has not installed seawalls, claiming the reactor sits 10 meters above sea level.

Are you implying the reactor does not sit 10 metres above sea level?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I'm not implying anything like I said it's what the power company said.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sir; it is good the Ikata reactor will start-Its good to see Japan has not ignored the VALUE; of nuclear power it will lessen energy imports ?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Claimed is a loaded word Zichi. Stated would be better.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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