Four Restarts In Japan Delayed To Review Kobe Steel Parts

Restarts of four Japanese reactors will be delayed by two months as their operators, Kansai Electric Power Company and Kyushu Electric Power Company, sift through files and inspect plants to see if safety has been jeopardized by the Kobe Steel Ltd data fabrication scandal that came to light in October.

Genkai NPPJust this week, Kansai received permission from the Fukui government to restart Units 3 and 4 at the Ohi nuclear generating station. The two units have been shut down in 2012 for regulatory inspections, but not restarted due to the nationwide moratorium on nuclear power in the wake of the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Generating Station. The company had expected to restart the units in January and March of 2018.

Kyushu was on the same time-line for two reactor restarts at the Genkai nuclear power plant in the Higashimatsuura District in the Saga Prefecture in western Japan.

Kobe Steel, Japan's third largest steel manufacturer with over 500 customers, admitted in October to widespread data fabrication, sending shock waves through the train, automobile and aircraft sectors. Company stock values plummeted. The company also makes casings for uranium fuel rods and spent fuel storage. To date, nuclear plant operators have said the only steel that could have been implicated in the scandal came from plants in which the data had not been fabricated. So far, they have not discovered any increased safety risks associated with the scandal, they said.

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