Aging reactor to be restarted next Wednesday

NHK -- Jun 18
The operator of the Mihama nuclear power plant on the Sea of Japan coast says it will restart an aging reactor next Wednesday after a 10-year suspension.

The No.3 unit would be the first reactor that is more than 40 years old to be put back online in Japan since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident of 2011.

The operator began making preparations for a restart after Fukui Prefecture, which hosts the reactor, agreed to the plan in April.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has conducted inspections of the reactor's containment vessel and important piping since June 7. The checks were completed on Thursday.

Kansai Electric Power Company will proceed to final-stage preparations, including a test to activate control rods.

The operation of reactors has been limited by law to 40 years in principle since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. But old reactors can still be allowed to operate for up to 60 years, if they pass a screening by the regulator.

As the reactor has been offline for 10 years, the operator will double the number of workers for the restart, and local governments will send staff to monitor the process. - NHK