9th Nuclear Reactor Restarts In Japan

9th nuclear reactor restarts in Japan

A power company in southwestern Japan has restarted another reactor at the Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture after clearing regulations introduced in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

It's the 9th reactor in Japan to go back online since the new regulations came into effect. The operating reactors are spread across 5 plants.

Workers for Kyushu Electric Power Company initiated restart procedures for the No. 4 reactor at the Genkai nuclear power station on Saturday, removing the control rods that suppress atomic fission.

The utility says the reactor will likely reach criticality -- a self-sustained nuclear reaction -- late on Saturday or early Sunday, and begin power generation and transmission on Wednesday. Commercial operations are likely to start as early as July 10th.

The plant's No. 3 reactor went back online in March, but encountered a steam leak in its piping. The utility conducted a detailed inspection of the No. 4 reactor to ensure it wouldn't experience the same problem.

Power companies say that so far they have applied to the nuclear regulator for approval to put 26 reactors back into operation. But they say in the case of 17, the restart has been put on hold due partly to delays in safety work and regulator assessments. They say the Genkai No. 4 reactor will be the last to restart this year.