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28 May, 2015

NRA Completes Examination of Sendai Reactors, Allowing Unit 1 to Restart by July 31

At a regular meeting on May 27, Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) approved operational safety programs providing rules for the operation and management of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plants, owned and operated by the Kyushu Electric Power Co. in Satsumasendai City, Kagoshima Prefecture.

Sendai NPPs

All of the examinations and procedures required for restarts of Sendai-1 and -2 have now been completed. The units will be restarted after pre-service inspections to confirm the performance of equipment and facilities at the site. The plan is to restart Unit 1 at the end of July, and Unit 2 at the end of September.

Following the giant earthquake of March 11, 2011, and the resulting accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which resulted in the shutdown of all the NPPs in Japan, the Ohi-3 and -4 NPPs, owned and operated by the Kansai Electric Power Co. in Ohi Town, Fukui Prefecture, were restarted in the summer of 2012 as a political judgment in the face of extreme power shortages. The restart of the Sendai-1 will thus be the first to be based on the confirmation of compatibility with the new regulatory standards.

Pre-service inspections — the final step — have begun at Sendai-1, but delays have been occurring. It is thus uncertain whether the remaining steps toward the actual restart of the reactor will proceed as the power company expects.

According to Kyushu Electric Power, all the inspections necessary before fuel is loaded into Unit 1 will be completed by June 18. Thereafter, fuel will be loaded over a four-day period. The power company plans to resume commercial service at the end of August.

Pre-service inspections at Unit 2 will begin on June 10. As the two units use some of the same facilities and equipment, Kyushu Electric Power has asked the NRA to give priority to inspections of those that they use jointly.

Fuel will be loaded into Unit 2 at the end of August, with the resumption of its commercial operation slated for the end of October.

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