Japan PM Halts Operations At Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant
By Dow Jones Newswires | Friday, May 06, 2011
TOKYO -(Dow Jones)- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Friday submitted a formal request for a halt to all electricity production at Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka nuclear power plant in the central Chubu region due to concerns about the plant’s preparedness for a major earthquake.
The move immediately affects the No. 4 and No. 5 units, which are currently operating with an output of around 2,500 megawatts. In addition, it cancels the potential resumption of electricity production at the No. 3 unit, which has a capacity of 1,100 megawatts and is currently on a planned maintenance outage.
Chubu Electric is the electricity supplier to the nation’s key industrial hub, where many of the plants of Toyota Motor Corp. are located. The move is expected to exacerbate the nation’s power shortage as it heads toward the summer peak season.
The plant account for about 12% of Chubu Electric’s total output.
In announcing the shutdown, Kan noted that the Science Ministry estimates an 87% chance of a massive magnitude eight earthquake in the region over the next 30 years.
“I have requested Chubu Electric to suspend operation of all nuclear reactors at Hamaoka. The reason for this is for the safety of the Japanese people,” Kan said in a televised news conference.
He said the shutdowns would be in effect until appropriate safety measures can be taken, but gave no timeframe. A Japanese safety agency official and the company later said that the necessary work would likely take two to three years to complete.
The move, just as Japan enters its highest-demand summer period, will worsen the already constrained power supply following the shutdown of nuclear plants due to the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami. But Kan said that the government hoped to avoid major disruptions due to the additional outages.
“I believe that we can overcome the risk of a power shortage with the cooperation of the Japanese public,” Kan said.
Kyodo News quoted the company as saying that it had ordered a suspension of all operations at the plant.
Kan’s high-profile closure of the plant comes after criticism that the facility was not adequately prepared for a major quake and that the government was not doing enough to protect against the risk of a second nuclear power plant crisis after the Daiichi crisis became the second-worst nuclear accident on record.
Briefing reporters after Kan’s statement, Trade Minister Banri Kaieda said that the government was asking neighboring Kansai Electric Power Co. for potential assistance.
However, Japan Atomic Power Co. announced just hours earlier that it was shutting down its Tsuruga No. 2 plant with an output of around 1,100 megawatts after finding elevated radiation levels in its cooling water. It stressed that there was no release of radiation in the incident but needed to make checks on whether one or more of the fuel rods might have been damaged, allowing small amounts of fuel to leak out.
The Tsuruga plant provides power for Kansai Electric, Hokuriku Electric Power Co. and Chubu Electric.
An official of the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency suggested that the leakage is unlikely to be a major problem and that any closure is likely to be a short-term one that ends before the summer peak season.
A Kansai Electric spokeswoman said the company would try all alternative measures to provide sufficient power, including asking help from adjacent Chubu Electric, Chugoku Electric Power Co. and Shikoku Electric Power Co.
Nevertheless, if many of the nuclear power reactors supplying electricity for Kansai remain idle and if temperatures are high this summer, Japan’s second-largest power utility, based in Osaka, may have to ask its customers to save electricity, including implementing planned power outages.
In response to the March 11 quake and tsunami, Kaieda has ordered over the past two months all nine utilities operating nuclear power plants to enhance safety against earthquake and tsunami such as equipping more backup power sources and making doors water-proof.
The nine utilities have implemented some of the measures and reported to the government with schedules to undertake the remaining safety work.
Chubu Electric decided in December 2008 to permanently close the Hamaoka No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, because the two reactors were too old to withstand a strong earthquake and it would be too expensive to make it stronger. These two reactors started commercial operations in the late 1970s. It has been planning to build a new No. 6 reactor at Hamaoka, but it suspended the plan after the March 11 disasters.
By Hiroyuki Kachi and Mitsuru Obe, Dow Jones Newswires
Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Giappone: stop centrale nucleare Hamaoka
domenica 15 maggio 2011 alle ore 10.14
L’operatore energetico giapponese Chubu Electric Power Co. ha fermato oggi l’ultimo reattore ancora attivo nella centrale nucleare di Hamaoka, 200 km a sudovest di Tokyo. I cinque reattori resteranno chiusi per almeno 2-3 anni, il tempo necessario per fare barriere anti-tsunami di 15 metri e installare nuovi impianti di raffreddamento di emergenza. Hamaoka e’ considerata uno dei siti atomici a piu’ alto rischio sismico del Giappone, trovandosi sulla congiunzione di due placche tettoniche.
Suit seeks permanent shutdown of Japan’s Hamaoka nuclear plant
TOKYO | Fri May 27, 2011 10:46am EDT
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Chubu Electric Power Co said on Friday that a lawsuit seeking a permanent shutdown of its Hamaoka nuclear plant had been filed by residents who live near the controversial facility south of Tokyo.
The utility shut the Hamaoka nuclear plant indefinitely in mid-May until it can be better defended against the type of massive earthquake and tsunami in March that crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.
The temporary shutdown of the plant came after an unprecedented request by Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who cited the risk that the plant, which is about 200 km (125 miles) southwest of Tokyo, would be hit by a major earthquake.
Chubu said it would do its best to gain the understanding of the court about safety measures taken for the Hamaoka plant. Chubu plans to install high sea walls in a few years at the Hamaoka plant to protect against a massive tsunami.
There are three reactors at the Hamaoka plant that Chubu says have been designed to withstand a magnitude 8.5 quake.
A group of Shizuoka residents filed an earlier lawsuit seeking the closure of Hamaoka. That suit was rejected by the Shizuoka District Court in 2007 and has been waiting an appeal at a higher court in Tokyo.
The Hamaoka plant is located near the junction of two tectonic plates. Critics say it is an unsafe location for a nuclear plant even if better-engineered tsunami defenses are installed.
Cooling system pump stops at Tokai nuclear power plant
TOKYO, March 14, Kyodo
One of the two cooling system pumps at the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, stopped Friday when a massive earthquake hit Japan but there is no problem with cooling as the remaining pump is working, according to local authorities late Sunday.
Tokai No. 2 Power Station, operated by Japan Atomic Power Co., shut down automatically after the magnitude 9.0 quake, one of the biggest quakes in history, jolted northeastern and eastern Japan.
According to a report submitted to the Ibaraki prefectural government, one of the two pumps used to cool the water of a suppression pool for the nuclear reactor at the plant stopped working.
The nuclear safety section of the prefectural government said the other pump is working and that there is no problem with cooling the reactor. All control rods are set in completely at the nuclear reactor, it said.
Japan Atomic Power said the reactor core has been cooled without any problem.