Tohoku Electric gets nod to restart Miyagi reactor damaged in 2011 disaster

By Aaron Sheldrick and Yuka Obayashi

Tohoku Electric Power said on Wednesday it had received the green light from a local governor to restart one of its nuclear reactors, nearly a decade after it was damaged in the earthquake and tsunami that caused the Fukushima disaster.

Yoshihiro Murai, the governor of Miyagi Prefecture, where Tohoku Electric's Onagawa nuclear station is located, signed off on the restart of reactor No. 2 on Wednesday, a spokesman told Reuters by phone.

If restarted, Onagawa No. 2 would be Tohoku Electric's first nuclear unit brought online since the 2011 disaster, and the first reactor restarted on the northeast Pacific coast of Japan since all reactors were shut down in the wake of the catastrophe.

Tohoku received regulatory approval to restart the reactor in February. The company has not set a date for rebooting the unit as other processes need signoff from regulators and Tohoku Electric is still working on safety measures that are due to be finished in the year starting March 2022, the spokesman said.

It expects to spend 340 billion yen ($3.1 billion) on safety upgrades at the Onagawa plant.

Onagawa was the closest among Japan's nuclear stations to the epicentre of the magnitude-9 quake in March 2011, which triggered a tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people as well as causing the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The station was swamped by the tsunami, but survived with its cooling system intact, saving its reactors from the threat of meltdowns similar to those that occurred at Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima Daiichi station to the south.

It operates a boiling water reactor with the same basic design as those that melted down in the Fukushima crisis.

The Fukushima disaster led to the eventual shutdown of the country's then 54 operational reactors, which once provided nearly a third of Japan's electricity.

All had to be relicensed under new standards after the disaster highlighted operational and regulatory failings. Only one is operating at present.

For a graphic on the status of Japan's reactors, click on:

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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restart Miyagi reactor damaged in 2011 disaster

I hope the duct tape holds.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I hope the bribes hold.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This was a unilateral decision by the governor, and the mayor. I saw the street interviews on TV yesterday and people were saying that there should have been a local referendum if not a prefectural one. Once again, someone and I think it would be safe to assume that both the governor and the mayor have received pay outs for this move. Check out the fault line just north of the nukes location in the link provided in the article. If something should go south, the mayor and the governor should be held accountable for at least professional willful negligence.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It would make more sense for approval to be given AFTER the 340 billion yen in upgrades have been completed in the year starting March 2022 (which could mean February 2023!) and after they have been checked and tested.

Giving approval now is irresponsible, but this is the nuclear village,

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What could possibly go wrong?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If something should go south, the mayor and the governor should be held accountable for at least

a 45° bow

0 ( +1 / -1 )

About 200 thousands people live in 30 km within from Onagawa nuclear plants.

Nobody knows that they can evacuate or not when Onagawa nuclear disaster.

because Japan's nuclear regulation still avoid to investigate practicability of evacuation plans.

and that life of evacuees are very difficult is already proved since 2011.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What could possibly go wrong?

Dam failures have killed far more people and done far more property damage than all the nuclear power mishaps combined. There there is the damage to migratory fish populations, silt accumulation that deprives river sand bars and coastal beaches of their basic material, etc. Let's tear down every hydroelectric dam too.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Nothing could go wrong with a 50+ year old plant on an earthquake ridden island, could it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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