29 Dec (NucNet): Units 6 and 7 of the Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power station in Niigata Prefecture, northwestern Japan, meet new regulatory standards imposed after the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said.
The two units, owned and operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) are the first boiling water reactors to meet the new standards. Tepco also owns the Fukushima-Daiichi station.
Kashiwazaki Kariwa was not affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami which damaged Fukushima-Daiichi, although the station’s seven reactors had all been offline for up to three years following a 2007 earthquake which damaged the site but did not damage the reactors themselves.
While the units were offline, work was carried out to improve the facility’s earthquake resistance. According to JAIF, the governor of Niigata Prefecture, Ryuichi Yoneyama, has said he will not discuss restarting the two units until further information about nuclear incidents and their impact on public health is made available. Both units are 1,315-MW BWRS. Kashiwazaki Kariwa-6 began commercial operation in November 1996 and Kashiwazaki Kariwa-7 in July 1997.
Tokyo-based nuclear industry group the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum said 14 nuclear units have now been approved by the NRA as meeting the new standards. They are Kashiwazaki Kariwa-6 and -7, Mihama 3, Takahama-1, -2, -3 and -4, and Ohi-3 and -4, Ikata-3, Genkai-3 and -4 and Sendai-1 and -2.
All of Japan’s 48 reactors were shut between 2011 and 2012 after the Fukushima-Daiichi accident. Five units have resumed commercial operation. They are: Takahama-3 and -4, Ikata-3 and Sendai-1 and -2.
Before the Fukushima-Daiichi accident Japan had generated around 30% of its electricity with plans to increase the share to 40%. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency Japan’s nuclear share in 2016 was 2.15%.