Japan on Thursday regained nuclear power supply as the first reactor to be restarted since last year’s tsunami came back on-line after it was connected to the generator and transmission grid,bring an end to first such nationwide shutdown of nuclear-generated electricity since 1970.
Following the reactivation of the reactor in Ohi in western Japan on Sunday,after being idled for 15 months for mandatory checks,the No 3 reactor at the Kansai Electric Power Co plant in Fukui Prefecture had its turbine linked and began generating and supplying power around 7 a m (local time).
It will gradually increase output and run at full capacity as early as Friday,officials said.
The resumption of the 1.18 million-kilowatt reactor is expected to ease the utility’s projected power shortfall for this summer to 9.2 per cent from 14.9 per cent and lead the government to lower its summer power-saving target for the firm’s service area in western Japan to 10 per cent from 15 per cent.
The reactor attained a sustained nuclear fission chain reaction,known as criticality,early Monday and had been expected to resume power generation on Wednesday,but it took another day to adjust the turbine.
Following government approval on June 16,Kansai Electric is also preparing to reactivate the plant’s No 4 reactor as early as July 18 and return to full operation possibly on July 25.
Since the last operating reactor in Hokkaido was deactivated for routine checks in early May,all of Japan’s 50 commercial reactors had been idled amid heightened public concern over the safety of nuclear power following the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi plant,triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.