Tepco's Kashiwazaki Kariwa Restart Hopes Dashed Again

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A 2015 inspection of Kashiwazaki Kariwa

Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority has extended a ban on the movement of nuclear fuel inside Tokyo Electric Power (Holding) Co.'s Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant, dealing a blow to Tepco's plans to restart Unit 7 this coming October. Tepco has for years hoped to restart the Advanced Boiling Water Reactors at Units 6 and 7 of the Niigata Prefecture plant. But the NRA imposed the ban in March 2021 after finding numerous defects in anti-terrorist and security safeguards. In its latest inspection, the NRA concluded that Tepco remains deficient in four of 27 key areas, including effective safety monitoring, sharing of corrective action practices, and implementing lasting management improvements. "Frankly speaking, how long our examinations continue depends on Tepco," NRA Chairman Shinsuke Yamanaka said May 17. Only 10 of Japan's reactors, all pressurized water reactors, have been restarted after being shut down in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Eight of these were in operation as of May 13, according to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy. Besides Kansai Electric's Takahama-1 and -2, both likely to be restarted this summer, only two further units, both boiling water reactors, are expected to be restarted this fiscal year: Chugoku Electric's Shimane-2 and Tohoku Electric's Onagawa-2.

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