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Japan’s Kansai Electric to restart Takahama No. 4 reactor March 24 after automatic shutdown

Kansai Electric finishes cable works for No. 4 Takahama reactor

To restart No. 1, No. 2 Takahama reactors June-July

Unclear about restart of No. 2 Maizuru coal-fired unit

Japan’s Kansai Electric said March 23 it plans to restart the 870 MW No. 4 Takahama nuclear reactor March 24 and resume power generation the following day after a Jan. 30 automatic shutdown.

An approval by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority March 22 paved the way for Kansai Electric to restart the No. 4 Takahama reactor in Fukui prefecture.

The NRA’s approval of the root cause and steps taken after the Jan. 30 automatic shutdown means Kansai Electric had to complete only one more step, reporting to Fukui prefecture, before restarting the unit, a Kansai Electric spokesperson said earlier March 23.

The company has already completed works to change the route of cables that had caused issues over March 9-16 and confirmed safety after subsequent monitoring over March 17-22, the spokesperson said.

Restarting the No. 4 Takahama reactor would mean Kansai Electric has five nuclear reactors in operation, joining the 826 MW No. 3 Mihama, 870 MW No. 3 Takahama, 1.18 GW Ooi No. 3 and 1.18 GW Ooi No. 4 nuclear reactors.

Kansai Electric also plans to restart power generation at the 826 MW No. 1 and 826 MW No. 2 Takahama nuclear reactors on June 3 and July 15, respectively, for the first time under Japan’s new regulatory standards introduced in 2013 following shutdowns for scheduled maintenance in 2011.

The restarts of the No. 1 and No. 2 Takahama reactors would also mark the country’s second and third nuclear reactors to see over 40 years of commercial operations following NRA’s approvals in 2016, along with Kansai Electric’s 826 MW No. 3 Mihama nuclear reactor, which was restarted in 2022.


Coal outage


It remains unclear when Kansai Electric will be able to restart the the 900 MW No. 2 coal-fired unit at Maizuru power plant in Kyoto prefecture, which was shut late March 21 due to the malfunctioning of a wastewater treatment unit.

The shutdown came after the company restarted the unit March 20 using only coal as feedstock as it is still investigating the cause of a March 14 fire.

Kansai Electric has identified overflow wastewater from recent firefighting activities in addition to that from power generation as resulting in the malfunction at the wastewater treatment unit.

At the time of the fire, Kansai Electric was in the midst of carrying out planned repair works at the 900 MW No. 1 Maizuru coal-fired unit, which remains shut for resumed works until July 22.

The shutdowns of both 1.8 GW Maizuru coal-fired units means Kansai Electric has lost all of the operable coal-fired power generation capacity over the two units.

The company has not been looking for spot LNG cargoes in the wake of the fire and was still not looking for additional supplies, according to market sources.

Coal-fired power accounts for 12% of Kansai Electric’s 14.566 GW of operable thermal power generation capacity, with LNG and oil accounting for 62% and 26%, respectively.

The local fire department and Kansai Electric confirmed at the time that the fire at the biomass-fuel supply facilities late March 14 had been extinguished by early morning March 15.

Source: S&P Global