Update: Japan restarts Genkai reactor No. 4

11/01/2011
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The Genkai Nuclear Power Plant is located at the town of Genkai in the Saga Prefecture. It is owned and operated by the Kyūshū Electric Power Company


Update
The Genkai reactor No. 4 was restarted at 11 a.m. Nov. 1. The restart of the reactor was seen as a key to determining the fate of dozens of halted reactors across Japan.

Japan had 54 working nuclear reactors while about 40 remain halted, mostly for regular inspections but some because of damage from the March earthquake and tsunami. However, before the earthquake the number of operational reactors has been decreasing because of opposition from local governments.

The Genkai No. 4 was not scheduled to have a stress test until December.

Japan preparing to restart Genkai reactor No. 4
TOKYO (majriox news) — Japan is preparing to restart Genkai reactor No. 4 within the next few days at the town of Genkai in Saga prefecture, which is exempt from the stress test, according to NHK on Nov. 1. Some nuclear reactors are undergoing routine inspections nationwide.

The Saga Prefecture Governor Yasushi Furukawa said, “The government must have a sensible reason for restarting the reactor and that complies with the Kyushu Electric Power Company (Kyuden, the operator of the Genkai plant) safety guidelines.”

However, the Mayor of Genkai Hideo Kishimoto said, “The Kyushu Electric Company does not have the trust and support of the residents and I don’t believe the reactor should be restarted.”

He added that the utility company is determined to restart the reactor and he can’t object because of the current government system.

The Genkai reactor No. 4 was suspended in early October because of a problem with the condenser unit that turned steam back into cooling water.

Additionally, in July, Kyuden was involved in a scandal. The utility company had apologized for urging employees of subsidiaries to respond to a government sponsored TV program about the then halted Genkai nuclear power plant by e-mailing messages supporting its restart. The utility’s President Toshio Manabe apologized at a July 6 news conference held in response to the message Kyuden’s officials sent out to its employees and workers at subsidiaries imploring them to advocate re-powering the Genkai reactor.

The utility strong-armed the workers to respond to a government-sponsored TV program that aired in late June to explain the situation at the plant to Saga prefecture residents.

Today Junichi Sato executive director of Greenpeace Japan, an international environmental group said, “Kyushu Electric must keep this reactor shut, and bring forward the regular maintenance planned next month.”

He demanded that Genkai No. 4 reactor be put through the stress test immediately.

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