Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Company has delayed a planned power increase at unit 1 of its Sendai nuclear plant after an alarm on a condensate pump indicated that seawater had entered the condenser. Kyushu Electric said the other condensers are working normally, and that power generation and transmission will continue at 75% instead of the planned 95%. The target of reaching 100% load on 25 August will not now be met.
Sendai 1 resumed operation on 11 August, the first Japanese reactor to be restarted in almost two years. Kyushu Electric said it will carry out a detailed investigation into any possible problems issues with related systems before increasing the unit’s power output. The utility had planned to gradually increase output and resume commercial operation in early September.
Earlier the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) began a pre-service inspection at unit 3 of the Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui prefecture, which operator Kansai Electric Power Company hopes to restart in early November. In February, Kansai Electric received permission to modify the basic design in order to meet the new safety standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima accident. The changes were approved in April and the on-site pre-service inspection aims to confirm that the safety measures are in line with those approved. The 830MWe pressurised water reactor (PWR) unit was the third to get regulatory approval after Sendai 1 and 2. In April, a district court in Fukui issued a provisional injunction blocking operation of the Takahama reactors and Kansai says it will not restart them unless the injunction is repealed.
Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is facing fierce local opposition to its plans to restart one reactor at its seven-unit Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP in Niigata Prefecture. Niigata governor Hirohiko Izumida is continuing to insist that first a full investigation is needed into what went wrong at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, also operated by Tepco, and has criticised Tepco for putting profit ahead of safety. The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa units are all boiling water reactors which require more complex safety modifications than PWRs to meet the new safety standard.