Japan to restart first n-plant post-Fukushima disaster

Tokyo, Aug 10 (IANS) Japan is set to restart operations at the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima prefecture, the first since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, officials said on Monday.

Amid anti-nuclear protests at the headquarters of Sendai’s owner, Kyushu Electric Power Company, and around the site of the No.1 reactor, the authorities maintained that the reactor was safe and would start generating power and distributing electricity on Friday, although transmission to the grid is scheduled to be ramped up later and full commercial operation in early September, Xinhua news agency reported.

The reboot of the reactor will involve the control rods being removed on Tuesday, which will allow the process of nuclear fission to begin. The reactor, providing there are no problems, will reach criticality after about 12 hours, Kyushu Electric Power Co. said.

It also said it carried out final inspections of the control rods on Monday, and having become the first nuclear power plant in Japan to pass tougher nuclear safety standards, will be the first power company to fire up a reactor in since the last of the nation’s reactors were taken off line for safety checks, following the Fukushima disaster, which was the worst commercial nuclear cataclysm since Chernobyl in 1986.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the government supports the restarting of nuclear plants that had cleared safety checks.

“Restarting nuclear plants that have been confirmed safe is important in our energy policy, which places nuclear power as a key electricity source.”

The Fukushima disaster was triggered by the tsunami on March 11, 2011. Some 300,000 people had evacuated the area.

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