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15 November, 2016

Kagoshima Governor Visits Reactor, Shows Some Appreciation for Special Inspections by Kyushu Electric Power

On November 11, Governor Satoshi Mitazono of Kagoshima Prefecture visited the Sendai-1 Nuclear Power Plant (PWR, 890MWe), owned and operated by the Kyushu Electric Power Co. The plant, where special inspections had been conducted, is located in Satsuma-Sendai City, Kagoshima Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu.

Governor Mitazono © Kagoshima Prefecture

In response to a question from a reporter after his visit, the governor said that he thought the citizens would feel more assured by a special inspection that was “distinct from a periodic inspection,” thus indicating his appreciation—to some extent—of the power utility’s action. He avoided, however, committing himself on whether or not he would approve restarting Sendai-1 prior to its scheduled startup in early December.

In terms of a direction for nuclear measures, Governor Mitazono said that he wanted to form a study committee on nuclear issues as soon as possible, and that he would make a comprehensive determination based on its conclusions. He did not state a clear time for creating the committee.

The site visit continued into the late afternoon. The governor watched workers inspecting foundation bolts for pumps and the like, and a portion of the installation of seismometers that would trigger a shutdown of the reactor. He also saw the inside of the reactor pressure vessel via a video camera and listened to an explanation of the results of its inspection. Two nuclear specialists accompanied him during his visit.

The Sendai-1 entered its periodic inspection on October 6, so is currently shut down. A periodic inspection of Sendai-2 (PWR, 890MWe) will begin on December 16.

After taking office in July, Governor Mitazono noted that the citizens of his prefecture were increasingly concerned about safety in the wake of the April earthquake in Kumamoto (also in Kyushu). He has since demanded twice that Kyushu Electric suspend operations of the Sendai NPPs immediately.

The power utility declined to halt operations then, but answered that it would implement special inspections, which were begun at the end of September.

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