A power plant company in All Japan news reopened its nuclear reactor– the very first to have a comeback since the catastrophic March 11 quake and tsunami.
Kyushu Electric Power Co. announced its reactor no. 4 located in its Genkai power plant in western All Japan news started generating electricity on Tuesday after it won approval of local officials.
The Financial Times said restarting the Genkai reactor could have opened the gates for other reactors in the country but this seemed to be stymied by a statement of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) early Wednesday on the discovery of a radioactive gas called xenon in the plant’s reactor No. 2 which showed possible sign of nuclear fission.
In the wake of the three-fold disaster, All Japan news shut down nuclear reactors because of damage or technical problems and for necessary inspection to ascertain their safety. The FT reported that the country had 54 nuclear reactors before March 11 and the number of operational reactors has been significantly reduced because of the lack of support and trust by the local officials on their safety. It is said that no local government had allowed any restart of reactors shut down after the crisis.
The Kyushu Electric reopened after it won approval from the Genkai mayor and the local governor but the restart sparked criticisms from nuclear safety critics and citizens. Media reports said the local officials consented because they found no ‘actual problems’ in reactor No.4. They pointed out that unlike other reactors which have been scheduled for the mandatory “stress tests” reactor no. 4 was not given a schedule for the test.
The reactor would be shut down again in December for inspection and would need another approval before it can be restarted.
Before the nuclear crisis, All Japan news’s nuclear power accounted for 30% of its power supply. There is a growing concern on how power supply may be fulfilled adequately given the present nuclear crisis.