Japan’s Higashidori No.1 reactor faces further delays

  • Market: Electricity
  • 23/04/24

Japanese utility Tohoku Electric Power has confirmed a further delay in reinforcement works at its 1,100MW Higashidori No.1 nuclear reactor, with its completion date unknown.

The postponement in restarting the Higashidori reactor in northern Aomori prefecture would encourage Tohoku to secure replacement thermal fuels — such as LNG and coal — for an extended period, although the company is planning to resume another reactor in September.

Tohoku previously aimed to complete the reinforcement work at Higashidori in the April 2024-March 2025 fiscal year. But the company needs more time to clear all the procedures for the assessment of basic earthquake ground motions and tsunamis, and to prepare for the plant inspection. It is still unclear when the company will complete the safety measures.

The Higashidori reactor is undergoing inspections by Japan's nuclear regulation authority (NRA), based on stricter safety rules following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The reactor will need to pass the safety checks and secure approval from local governments before restarting.

Tohoku has three commercial reactors, including two at Onagawa in Miyagi prefecture and the Higashidori No.1 reactor, of which it applied to restart two. The 825MW Onagawa No.2 reactor has already cleared the NRA's safety inspections and obtained permission from local authorities to restart. The company is now planning to restart the Onagawa No.2 reactor in September.

The possible return of the Onagawa No.2 reactor will help Tohoku reduce consumption of thermal fuels. The company used 2.76mn t of LNG in April-December 2023, up by 12pc from a year earlier, in the absence of all its nuclear reactors. But its coal consumption fell by 12pc to 5.68mn t during the period.


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