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NRA gives conditional approval for TEPCO to restart two nuclear reactors

EBR Staff Writer Published 14 September 2017

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has given a conditional approval to Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for the restart of two reactors of its 8GW Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture.

As per a report in The Japan Times, the approval from the nuclear watchdog will be conditional on a guarantee from Japan’s industry minister on the enhanced safety measures implemented by TEPCO on the nuclear reactors.

NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said that he will ask TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa to ensure that the company is indeed committed to enhanced safety measures by including a guarantee in safety manuals.

Following the request, NRA is expected to draft safety screening reports, which are required for the restart of the two reactors. 

Unit 6 and Unit 7 of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant are of 1.36GW each and had commenced operations in 1996 and 1997 respectively.

The two nuclear reactors along with 52 other nuclear facilities in the country were shut down following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.

In March, a district court in Japan ruled that both TEPCO and the Japanese government knew about the risks at Fukushima and that they could have taken action to prevent the meltdown of three nuclear reactors following the Tohoku earthquake and the subsequent tsunami.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant features seven nuclear reactors which have been all shut down since the 2011 earthquake to carry out safety improvements. It was an earlier earthquake in 2007 that had shaken the nuclear plant beyond design basis and forcing a shut down for 21 months.


Image: The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant in Japan pictured in 2011. Photo: courtesy of D a/Wikipedia.org.