JAPAN | Oi reactor resumption could be months away

Posted on July 16, 2011

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JAPAN | YOMIURI | 17 July 2011

It may take several months until Kansai Electric Power Co. can reactivate the Oi power plant’s No. 1 reactor, as it likely will have to undergo first-stage stress tests, according to sources.

Under a draft plan for two-stage stress tests announced by the government Friday, suspended reactors need to undergo both safety assessments, or stress tests, and operating reactors only have to undergo the second-stage assessment.

The Oi power plant’s No. 1 reactor had been reactivated and was operating for the final phase of regular scheduled inspections.

Therefore, it was previously believed that the first-stage assessment, which is required for reactors to be restarted, was unnecessary for the No. 1 reactor and only the second-stage assessment was needed.

However, because the No. 1 reactor was due to be halted manually Saturday night due to a problem with its cooling system, the reactor likely will also have to undergo the first-stage stress test, the sources said. This could delay the reactor’s reactivation by several months.

An official of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said: “We haven’t discussed the matter in detail yet. But if we strictly apply the definition of the first-stage assessment to the Oi plant’s No. 1 reactor, I’d say the No. 1 reactor would be included [among those that need to undergo the first-stage stress test].”

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