Kansai Electric Power is all set to restart the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant at the Fukui Prefecture, ending a four-year hiatus of its operations.
Kansai Electric will conduct final inspections, following which it will remove the control rods that slow or stop the fission reactions at the No. 3 reactor. The Fukui Prefecture plant will be the second plant in Japan after Kyushu Electric’s Sendai plant to restart their operations with the newly implemented regulations.
The reactor is set to achieve criticality by early Saturday and is expected to start generating power by Monday afternoon. The No. 3 reactor will resume commercial operations in late February. The No. 4 reactor at Takahama will also receive nuclear fuel from Sunday. Kansai’s plan is to begin commercial operations of the reactor once again in late March.
The two reactors will be the first of plutonium-thermal power generators operating under the new regulations. The ‘pluthermal’ reactor utilizes mixed-oxide fuel of plutonium and uranium. Spent fuel will be used to derive plutonium which will extend the useful life of the material.
Kansai Electric is planning to submit the electricity rate cut plan to Japanese government once it has ensured that there are no technical issues at the reactors. The utility savings will be subsequently passed onto commercial and residential customers.
The company is also planning to restart operations at the Oi nuclear power plant in fiscal 2016. The company will transfer a few of the personnel from Takahama to Oi before final inspection of the plant in Fukui Prefecture. The Oi plant’s output is expected to be about 2.36 million kilowatts, 35% more than the Takahama reactors.
Excerpts from Nikkei Asian Review. Image credits: Kansai Electric Power Co.