Sendai nuclear plant in southern Japan is first to begin operation since 2011 Fukushima meltdowns, despite anti-nuclear protests
Police officers guard the gate of the Sendai nuclear power plant as protesters rally against the restarting of the reactor. Photograph: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images
A power plant operator in southern Japan has restarted a reactor, the first to begin operating under new safety requirements following the Fukushima disaster.
Kyushu Electric Power Co. said on Tuesday it had restarted the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai nuclear plant as planned.
The restart marks Japan’s return to nuclear energy four-and-half-years after the 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan following an earthquake and tsunami.
The national broadcaster NHK showed plant workers in the control room as they turned the reactor back on. Tomomitsu Sakata, a spokesman for Kyushu Electric Power, said the reactor was put back online as planned without any problems.
The disaster displaced more than 100,000 people due to radioactive contamination in the area and spurred a national debate over this resource-scarce country’s reliance on nuclear power.
Former prime minister Naoto Kan speaks to protesters gathered at the main gate of the Sendai nuclear power plant. Photograph: The Asahi Shimbun/via Getty Images
A majority of Japanese people oppose the return to nuclear energy. Dozens of protesters, including ex-prime minister Naoto Kan, who was in office at the time of the disaster and has become an outspoken critic of nuclear power, were gathered outside the plant as police stood guard.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority affirmed the safety of the Sendai reactor and another one at the plant last September under stricter safety rules imposed after the 2011 accident.
The Sendai No. 1 reactor is scheduled to start generating power on Friday and to reach full capacity next month. The second Sendai reactor is due to restart in October.
Koichi Miyazawa, Japan’s industry minister, said on Tuesday that the government would “put safety first” in resuming use of nuclear power.
All of Japan’s 43 workable reactors have been shut for the last two years pending safety checks. To offset the shortfall in power output, the country ramped up imports of oil and gas and fired up more thermal power plants, slowing progress toward reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases.
Prime minister Shinzo Abe has sought to have the reactors restarted as soon as possible to help reduce costly reliance on imported oil and gas and alleviate the financial burden on utilities of maintaining the idled plants.
“There are very strong vested interests to reopen nuclear reactors. Accepting them as permanently closed would have financial implications that would be hard to manage,” said Tomas Kaberger, chairman of the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation.
Utilities are seeking approvals to restart 23 reactors, including the other Sendai reactor.
The government has set a goal to have nuclear power meet more than 20% of Japan’s energy needs by 2030, despite the lingering troubles at the Fukushima plant, which is plagued by massive flows of contaminated water leaking from its reactors.
Removal of the melted fuel at the plant – the most challenging part of the 30-to-40-year process of shutting it down permanently – will begin only in 2022.
Source: The Guardian
Nu-Gen steps up its plans for nuclear new build
A team from NuGen will begin to carry out geographical surveys at Moorside that, it is hoped, will pave the way for a new power station with three reactors being built.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) says the project would bring at least £10billion of investment and create up to 21,000 jobs over the construction, including peak on-site employment of more than 6,000. Once operational, the reactors would employ 1,000.
Promoting the benefits of new nuclear build was the aim of a successful industry day, organised by the Sellafield Workers’ Campaign (SWC),
The event heard from John McNamara, NuGen’s head of corporate communications, who accepted that recent progress on site has been slow, but “momentum will build” starting with the surveys that begin in August.
Mr McNamara added that it is hoped that site suitability will be determined next year, planning permission and licensing granted in 2018, allowing for construction to begin in 2020. The first reactor would go on stream in 2024 and all three, with a combined 3.4GW capacity, operational by 2026.
Launching SWC’s industry day, Copeland MP Jamie Reed said that new-build will make Cumbria a “global player”.
Read the full article here http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk/news/nugen-steps-up-its-plans-for-nuclear-new-build-1.1144792
Source: Whitehaven News
EDF chooses Hydratight for new framework agreement
Hydratight has just completed the first package of steam generator tooling as part of the recently secured six-year frame agreement with Électricité de France (EDF), France’s main electricity generation and distribution company, which manages all of the country’s functioning nuclear power facilities.
Hydratight has been EDF’s preferred provider for the previous six years during which time the company has supplied products and services to ensure the safe running and up-time of France’s nuclear power plants. This has included providing multi stud tensioning systems and manway lifting devices.
Gavin Coopey from Hydratight commented: “Over the last six years we have grown and developed with EDF. The team recognised our expertise and capabilities and this is what won us the new agreement.
“We have an excellent working relationship with EDF and all of the team are looking forward to continuing with what has proved to be a very productive agreement for both companies.
“France is a very important market to be involved with in the nuclear energy sector and we are delighted that EDF have chosen to again trust Hydratight as a chosen supplier.”
France derives nearly 75% of its electricity from nuclear power plants, making it the most nuclear reliant country in the world.
UK nuclear experts to help decommision Fukushima
Engineers from Sellafield to travel to Japan to advise on shutting down the stricken site
Lady Judge, the British-American nuclear expert and adviser at Fukushima, is organising for engineers from Sellafield in Cumbria to travel to Japan to advise on decontaminating and shutting down the stricken site.
“At Sellafield and Dounreay we are decommissioning big power plants and we can provide a very good example to the Japanese of how to do it safely,” said Lady Judge in an interview with The Telegraph. “I’ve been talking to Sellafield about sending some engineers to help.”
Read the full article here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/10613243/UK-nuclear-experts-to-help-decommision-Fukushima.html