Application Initiates Process To Start Up Shimane 3

Among the reactors caught up in Japan's nuclear power moratorium following the Fukushima Daiichi accident were two reactors under construction, but nearing completion.

Shimane NPPOne is the Unit 3 reactor at the Shimane nuclear power plant in the Shimane prefecture. The other is Unit one at the Ohma nuclear power plant in Aomori prefecture. Both are Advanced Boiling Water reactors, the first, a 1373 MWe unit owned by Chugoku Electric Power Company. The second under construction when Japan enacted a national moratorium on nuclear power is owned by the Japan Electric Power Development Corporation (J-Power).

While J-Power applied for regulatory inspections for Aomori Unit 1 in 2014, the closest of the two to an initial start up is the Shimane Unit 3, the World Nuclear News reported.

This week, Chugoku Electric applied to local city and prefecture governments for permission to apply for pre-start up inspections at Shimane 3, which is nearing completion.

As it happened, the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Generating Station, which occurred in March 2011, took place one month into a fuel-loading and start up delay for Shimane Unit 3, a delay that was prompted by problems with a control rod drive mechanism.

It had been scheduled to have its first fuel load in early 2011 with commercial operations expected to commence in December of that year.

The pre-start up application was delivered to the Matsue city government personally by Chugoku President Mareshige Shimizu, who presented the paperwork to Mayor Masataka Matsuura. Technically, the company is requesting the city allow Chugoku to apply to the national nuclear power regulator, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, for regulatory inspections.

Concurrently, the same request was submitted to the Shimane prefecture's government.

The regulatory process that precedes an actual start up could take years to complete. The plant's owner is required to apply to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for permission to make the changes mandated in the post-Fukushima accident era. Once permission has been granted, the company has up to five years to make the changes that would strengthen the plant based on the more stringent standards.

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