” Kyushu Electric Power Co. began full-scale commercial operation Tuesday of a nuclear reactor at its two-unit Sendai plant in southwestern Japan after clearing a final inspection by the nuclear regulator.
The plant’s No. 2 unit is the second reactor in the country to fully resume commercial operation under new safety regulations adopted after the 2011 nuclear disaster, following its No. 1 unit in September.
The two-day final inspection by the regulator began Monday.
The No. 2 reactor was reactivated on Oct. 15 and began power generation and transmission on Oct. 21. The reactor gradually raised its output until it reached full capacity on Nov. 1.
Before the Nos. 1 and 2 units were reactivated, Japan had no nuclear power supply for nearly two years, as all of the country’s commercial reactors were gradually taken offline amid safety concerns in the wake of the Fukushima meltdowns.
The government identifies nuclear power as a key electricity source and is promoting the restart of idled reactors across the country even though antinuclear sentiment remains strong among the Japanese public.
Besides the two-unit Sendai plant, Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at its Takahama plant and Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s No. 3 reactor at its Ikata plant have obtained safety clearance.
The No. 3 unit at the Ikata plant is expected to be reactivated next year as the local authority agreed to its restart last month.
Japan introduced stricter safety regulations for nuclear reactors after bringing them to a standstill in the wake of the huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, that triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. ”