26 Feb (NucNet): The Takahama-3 nuclear reactor unit in Fukui prefecture, southwestern Japan, has resumed commercial operation, making it the third reactor in Japan to return to service since new safety and security regulations were introduced following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (Jaif) said.
The 830-MW pressurised water reactor, which first began commercial operation in January 1985, was restarted on 29 January 2016.
Jaif said it had been undergoing “a period of adjustment operations” and was returned to commercial service following the completion of an integrated performance test by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).
Kepco did not immediately confirm the reactor’s return to commercial operation.
The company did say in a statement on its website that Takahama-4 was expected to be restarted today (26 February 2016) in preparation for a return to full commercial operation at the end of March 2016.
Kepco said it expects the reactor to reach first criticality at around 06:00 local time on 27 February and to start generating power 29 February.
The 830-MW PWR unit seems likely to become the fourth reactor to resume commercial operation in Japan.
Kyushu Electric Power Company’s Sendai -1 and -2 in Kagoshima prefecture, southern Japan, were the first reactors to resume full commercial operations last year. Another 20 reactors are moving through the NRA’s restart process.
Earlier this week Jaif said the NRA had approved the Takahama-1 and Takahama-2 nuclear plants as compatible with new regulatory standards.
Both units have been in commercial operation for more than 40 years – Takahama-1 since November 1974 and Takahama-2 since November 1975.
According to Jaif this is the first time that reactors of this age have received NRA approval to resume operation.
Jaif said that for the units to be restarted, permission to extend their operating lifetimes will have to be granted by a regulatory deadline of July 2016. Formal government hearings and public consultation will also be held, Jaif said.
There are four PWR units at the Takahama nuclear station.
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