Japan's Sendai Reactors Receive Final Approval For Restart

Japan's Sendai Reactors Receive Final Approval for Restart

Flag of Japan. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Lately there's been much talk in the uranium space regarding reactor restarts in Japan, with many of the planned restarts coming up against legal and safety issues. Those pitfalls make Wednesday's news that two reactors at the Sendai nuclear power plant have gained final approval very encouraging.

Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has approved the operational safety plans for the Sendai nuclear power plant's two reactors. It's owned by Kyushu Electric Power Company (TSE: 9508).

The safety program designed for the plant includes emergency response plans in case of fire, flooding, other natural disasters or a serious accident. Those that have voiced their concerns about safety will likely find it encouraging to see these procedures put in place and meeting the NRA's criteria. However, the Sendai plant hasn't had too much backlash from the community. In fact, the station has reportedly received much local support from those in Kagoshima Prefecture, and the restart of the units has even been prioritized partially due to public support.

Wednesday's safety plan approval was the last step of NRA's three-part screening process that the reactors needed to pass. According to World Nuclear News, Kyushu plans to load fuel into one reactor during the first half of June, and following final safety inspections, expects to restart it in mid-July. The company predicts it will reach full power by the end of the month and "return to normal operation" by mid-August. As for the second unit, the restart is expected to follow about two months behind the first.

For his part, Rob Chang of Cantor Fitzgerald believes the first unit will come back online in August. He also said in a note that Japan's Institute of Energy Economics has estimated that 11 reactors could be back online by March 2016, though his firm forecasts just nine by the end of 2016.