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Economy

Japan’s Tohoku Electric to delay nuclear reactor restart on construction works

Tohoku Power Electric Co.'s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant is seen in Onagawa town, Miyagi Prefecture, September 7, 2011. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
Tohoku Power Electric Co.'s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant is seen in Onagawa town, Miyagi Prefect... Tohoku Power Electric Co.'s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant is seen in Onagawa town, Miyagi Prefecture, September 7, 2011. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
Tohoku Power Electric Co.'s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant is seen in Onagawa town, Miyagi Prefecture, September 7, 2011. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo
Tohoku Power Electric Co.'s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant is seen in Onagawa town, Miyagi Prefect... Tohoku Power Electric Co.'s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant is seen in Onagawa town, Miyagi Prefecture, September 7, 2011. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

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Japan’s Tohoku Electric will delay the nuclear reactor restart on construction works. Due to further safety building work, Japan’s Tohoku Electric Power (9506.T) said on Wednesday that it would postpone restarting reactor No. 2 at its Onagawa nuclear station. As a result, all of its nuclear power facilities have been shut down since the 2011 earthquake.

Japan is slowly returning to nuclear power in its energy mix to meet carbon neutrality targets and cut back on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) it imports from other countries, notably Russia.

The regulatory license was given to Tohoku to restart the No. 2 reactor in 2020; however, the completion of safety construction measures has been delayed. Tohoku’s Onawaga facility was the closest nuclear station in Japan to the epicenter of the magnitude-9 earthquake that struck in March 2011.

It stated on Wednesday that it anticipated a few-month delay in completing safety construction measures that were initially scheduled to be completed by February. Tohoku stated that the May restart date for the reactor will also be rescheduled, although they did not provide a new date.

The 2011 tsunami flooded the station, but fortunately, its cooling system held firm, protecting its reactors from the possibility of meltdowns such as those that transpired at Tokyo Electric Power’s (9501.T) Fukushima Daiichi facility, situated to the south.

On Sunday, Hokuriku Electric Power (9505.T) of Japan announced that there had been a small oil leak from its Shika nuclear power station, which had experienced a strong earthquake on New Year’s Day. However, the company maintained that there had been no adverse effects on the environment or public health.

Tokyo Electric Power’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station is the largest in the world. Japan’s nuclear power authority removed the operating prohibition on the facility a few days before the magnitude 7.6 earthquake that struck the Hokuriku area, killing over 200 people.

It is uncertain when the plant, which was taken offline after the Fukushima accident, would be able to reopen without approval from the local governments of Niigata prefecture, Kashiwazaki city, and Kariwa village.


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