TEPCO Started Loading Nuclear Fuel Into Idle Reactor In Central Japan

TEPCO Started Loading Nuclear Fuel Into Idle Reactor In Central Japan

TOKYO, Apr 16 (NNN-NHK) – Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), yesterday started loading nuclear fuel into a reactor at an idle plant, in the central Japanese prefecture of Niigata, amid the country’s continuous efforts to accelerate the restart of nuclear reactors.

TEPCO said, it started work to carry fuel assemblies into the No. 7 reactor, at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, from around 4.00 p.m. local time yesterday, after the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) granted approval, earlier in the day.

TEPCO said, it plans to load 872 fuel assemblies, currently kept in a pool on the plant’s premises into the reactor, which will take about two weeks.

The company will confirm the safety, by testing the function of control rods and emergency core cooling systems, among other things, in the time of about a month, after the loading.

It is rare for a nuclear plant operator to start refueling one without the local consent, and whether TEPCO will be able to reactivate the reactor remains uncertain, because the utility needs to gain approval from local municipalities for a restart, Kyodo News reported.

Around 60 people gathered to hand a letter of protest to a TEPCO official, and staged a demonstration in front of the JR Niigata Station, against the loading work, the report said.

Japan’s central government has been seeking Niigata governor’s approval for the restart, as it aims to reintroduce nuclear power production to the resource-poor Japan’s energy supply.

TEPCO has yet to restart any of its nuclear reactors, which were halted after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was crippled by a massive earthquake, and an ensuing tsunami in March 2011, resulting in a level-7 nuclear accident, the highest on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.– NNN-NHK  


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