Only one power reactor remains in operation in Japan

19 November 2020

Japan will have only one nuclear reactor – Genkai 4 – operating for the next six weeks after Kansai Electric Power Co shut down Ohi 4 in Fukui Prefecture for regular maintenance on 3 November, Asahi Shimbun reported.

All Japan’s nuclear power plants were closed in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Since then, the Kansai, Shikoku and Kyushu electric power utilities have restarted  nine reactors at five plants. This is the first time since May 2017 that all reactors operated by Kansai Electric have been closed.

Electric power companies are required to construct an anti-terrorism facility at their plants to meet new safety regulations imposed after Fukushima. However, Kansai Electric failed to meet the deadline at Takahama 3&4 in Fukui Prefecture. In addition, pipes need to be replaced at Ohi 3. Kansai Electric has submitted repair plans to the government and expects to finish the work in January in order to restart the reactor in February 2021.

Last January, the Hiroshima High Court granted a provisional disposition order to close Shikoku Electric’s Ikata 3 in Ehime Prefecture, which is now unlikely to come back online until March 2021 at the earliest.

Units 1&2 at Kyushu Electric’s Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, were also suspended after construction of an anti-terrorism facility fell behind schedule.

Genkai 3 is undergoing regular inspections leaving only Genkai 4 operating. This situation is expected to continue until 22 December when Kansai Electric plans to restart Takahama 3.

Photo: KEI