The periodic inspection of Sendai-1 had begun on October 17, 2021. After the loading of fuel assemblies, generation restarted two months later, on December 20. Thereafter, the power utility gradually increased reactor output and carried out final adjustments of facilities and equipment. In the afternoon of January 17, then, a final inspection prior to operation was completed, after which the reactor returned to commercial service.

Kyushu Electric released a comment saying that it would make every possible effort to continue safe, steady operation, earning the confidence and trust of the people of the region.

Following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi in 2011, the maximum operating lifetime for NPPs in Japan was set at 40years, in principle, from the start of commercial operation. The Sendai-1 NPP is to reach its 40year mark in 2024. With, however, the approval of the government, it is possible to extend the operating lifetime by up to 20 years.

The company is currently carrying out a “special inspection” required for such an extension, expecting it to continue until April or later.