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Third Reactor Restarted in Japan—Takahama-3 Restarted/Connected to the Grid

Saturday 30 January 2016

Third Reactor Restarted in Japan—Takahama-3 Restarted/Connected to the Grid

30 January 2016, updated/corrected on 1 February 2016

After nearly four years of outage, the Takahama-3 reactor, located in Fukui Prefecture in the Chubu region of Japan, was restarted on 29 January and connected to the grid on 1 February 2016. The same day operation restarted at unit 3, owner Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) began loading fuel into the Takahama-4 reactor, with plans to restart not before late March. Unit 3 had been shutdown since 20 February 2012. KEPCO submitted an application for review of the reactor by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in July 2013.

Both Takahama reactors were subject to an injunction preventing restart issued by the Fukui District Court in April 2015. The court ruled in favor of local citizens, who charged that the safety regulations of the NRA were inadequate and that, amongst other safety issues, the Takahama reactors remained vulnerable to seismic risks. On 24 December 2015, the injunction was overturned on an appeal filed by KEPCO, which opened the way for restart. The case has now been addressed to the Kanazawa High Court, where an appeal on the decision filed by citizens will hear evidence on the multiple safety issues that have raised concerns within the wider Kansai region, including prefectural governments in Shiga and Kyoto.

Both Takahama reactors will be the first operating in Japan with a percentage of plutonium fuel. The plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel or MOX was supplied by the French company AREVA, with 24 assemblies in reactor unit 3 and a planned 4 assemblies in unit 4.

The restart of Takahama-3, leaves 37 reactors (including Monju) in Japan in Long Term Outage (LTO) since none of these have generated electricity during 2014 or 2015. WNISR considers that all 10 Fukushima units are shut down and will never restart.

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