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POWER UTILITY | Staff Reporter, Japan
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Kyushu Electric Power restarted its 1180MWe Genkai 3 reactor

Commercial operation is slated this month.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. has restarted its 1180 MWe Genkai 3 reactor and reconnected it to the electricity grid. Commercial operation is expected in April. Unit 4 is expected to restart in May. Kyushu’s application to confirm both reactors’ conformity with new safety requirements following the Fukushima accident was filed in July 2013, and NRA commissioners approved the two units' safety in January 2017. Loading of fuel, including MOX, took place in February this year. Kansai expects to start its Ohi 4 in May. This will bring to four the number of similar large PWR reactors back in service, additional to the five 870-890 MWe ones. No boiling water reactors have yet been restarted. Applications have been made for 25 of the 40 operational reactors - 9 PWR, 2 ABWR and 7 BWR are pending.

Shikoku has announced that it will decommission its Ikata 2 reactor rather than spend a lot of money upgrading it. To return it to service and extend its operating lifetime from 40 to 60 years would require a huge investment for the safety measures required to comply with Japan’s new regulatory standards. This brings forward its planned closure from 2022, and removes 538 MWe net from potential restarts. It will be the ninth old reactor decommissioned in the last four years, seven of them smaller ones.

Nuclear energy is expected to account for 20-22% of Japan's power generation in 2030, with a similar portion coming from renewable sources. The remainder of the country's power generation will be met by coal (26%), LNG (27%), hydro and other renewables (about 22%) and oil (3%), according to Japan's latest energy policy.

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