Late in the afternoon of July 14, meeting the press at his official residence, Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio said that he had instructed that “up to nine” nuclear power plants (NPPs) be in operation in order to provide stable supplies of electricity this coming winter. On the further restarting of NPPs, he said that the government “would come to the fore and tenaciously work to obtain understanding and cooperation from siting municipalities and other relevant parties.”
There is, however, no outlook for restarting any more of the NPPs that have remained shut down for many years in the wake of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi. The reality is that among the ten NPPs that have cleared safety examinations by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) and been restarted, nine (all but the Genkai-4 NPP (PWR, 1,180 MW)) will have to be managed and operated to supply the needed electricity.
Soon after the remarks by the prime minister, there was speculation that “an additional nine NPPs would be restarted.” What had in fact been meant was that nine of the ten NPPs that have already been restarted would be in service this winter. This was not news.
Regarding power supply this summer, Prime Minister Kishida said that “an outlook for stable supplies is ensured,” before turning to the need for measures in anticipation of winter, when demand is expected to rise. In addition to NPPs, he said, he had instructed that capabilities of ten thermal power plants be ensured. He stated that the government would apply full force to securing stable supplies of electricity into the future.
Of the ten NPPs that have been restarted, the five that are currently in operation are in Western Japan. They are Ohi-3 & -4 (PWRs, 1,180 MW each), Ikata-3 (PWR, 890 MW) and Sendai-1 & 2 (PWRs, 890 MW each). The other five are currently shut down either for periodic inspections or because anti-terrorism facilities had not been completed by their deadlines. The Onagawa-2 (BWR, 825 MW) and the Shimane-2 (BWR, 820 MW), which have passed examinations by the NRA, will not be available this winter because of on-going safety measures work.