Tokyo Electric said Thursday it will seek an industry peer to become its partner in the nuclear power business and draw up a basic framework for the tie-up around fiscal 2020. The tie-up will cover the Higashidori nuclear power station in Aomori Prefecture, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. said in a new turnaround program. The plan comes as Tepco, as the utility is known, works to raise a massive funds to cover the March 2011 triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The costs include expenses for decommissioning the reactor and compensating those affected by the disaster. The company aims to set up joint ventures for nuclear power and power grid operations to streamline its business and bolster earnings.
TOYAMA – More than six years after the March 11, 2011, Tohoku quake, tsunami, and triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Japan is accelerating efforts to restart as many reactors as it possibly can. Four have been revived so far, and Kansai Electric Power Co. plans to restart the Takahama No. 3 unit soon. But the rush to restart them has only highlighted the fact that Japan still has no final repository for its high-level radioactive waste. Original plans to first reprocess spent fuel at the Rokkasho facility in Aomori Prefecture before final disposal somewhere else have long been stalled. After 17 years asking prefectures and municipalities around the country to host such a site, no takers have been found.
If the checks go smoothly, Shikoku Electric plans to load nuclear fuel into the reactor in late June ahead of its reboot in late July. Under new nuclear safety standards, introduced after the March 2011 nuclear catastrophe at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 plant, the Ikata No. 3 reactor is the fifth to go through the NRA's inspections before being allowed to restart. The four others are the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, and the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture. According to Shikoku Electric, there are 50 items on the checklist for the Ikata No. 3 reactor, including confirming whether safety instruments work properly. The inspections, including final checks, will last about 4½ months and include examining how the utility would respond to possible accidents.
AOMORI – Electric Power Development Co. said Friday that it has decided to postpone its plan to start operating its Oma nuclear power plant by two years to fiscal 2024 due to longer-than-expected safety tests by the nuclear regulatory body. The company, known as J-Power, has delayed the schedule for the second time after it applied for the safety check of the plant, which will be the world's first reactor to run solely on plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel, in December 2014, with an initial plan aimed at starting operation in fiscal 2021. But it put off the original schedule in September last year to around fiscal 2022 due to the prolonged screening process by the Nuclear Regulation Authority after the company was asked to provide further explanations of the plan to build the plant in Aomori Prefecture. "We would like to continue responding appropriately to (requests from) the regulation authority for safety screening," said Shosaku Kusunose, executive managing officer in charge of the Oma plant project. Nuclear power plant operators in Japan need to obtain safety clearance from the NRA under tougher regulations adopted after the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011, which led to a nationwide halt of nuclear power plants.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and other major utilities will start talks this spring on jointly building and operating a nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, sources close to the matter said Friday. The plan involves Tepco's Higashidori nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, the construction of which was suspended following meltdowns at the firm's Fukushima No. 1 power plant in March 2011. Tohoku Electric Power Co., Chubu Electric Power Co., and Japan Atomic Power Co. are expected to participate in the project, according to the sources. Kansai Electric Power Co. is also considering joining a group to discuss the role of each utility and how to shoulder the huge costs related to the Higashidori plant, they said. The government, which holds the majority of Tepco's voting rights through a state-backed bailout fund, is expected to support the move.