6 Sept (NucNet): Japan is to be without nuclear energy for an indefinite period after its only commercially operational reactors, Ohi-3 and Ohi-4, are shut down for scheduled refuelling and maintenance.
The Kansai Electric Power Company (Kepco) took Ohi-3 offline on 2 September, making Ohi-4 the only nuclear reactor in Japan delivering electricity to the grid.
The company will take Ohi-4 offline on 15 September, leaving Japan without any of its 50 nuclear reactors in commercial operation.
The two reactors will not restart until they are given permission from the Japan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA).
The NRA is carrying out safety assessments for 12 nuclear reactor units at six plants in the country, including Ohi-3 and Ohi-4. Post-Fukushima safety assessments on all 50 reactors in Japan must be carried out before any are allowed to restart.
After an earlier safety assessment, the NRA agreed in July 2013 to allow Ohi-3 and -4 to continue operation until their planned maintenance and refuelling outages.
After the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident, Ohi-3 resumed electricity generation on 5 July 2012 following an extended outage, ending a 60-day period without any of Japan’s reactors online.
Ohi-4 was the second nuclear reactor in Japan to be re-started since Fukushima-Daiichi.