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Japanese Shareholders Uphold Utilities’ Nuclear Use; Ohi 3 Starts Up

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • At shareholder meetings last week of all nine Japanese nuclear utilities, proposals to reduce or eliminate the use of nuclear energy were voted down. Tokyo Electric Power Co. shareholders approved the government taking over 75 percent of the utility’s shares in exchange for a capital infusion of $12.5 billion. Eleven new TEPCO executives were also formally voted in.
  • Kansai Electric Power Co. successfully restarted reactor 3 at its Ohi nuclear energy facility in Fukui prefecture July 1. It. The first reactor to resume operation since early May, it is expected to reach full power by July 4. Businesses and households began power-saving measures for the second consecutive summer as authorities warn of electricity shortages and possible rolling blackouts in parts of the country. Ohi reactor 4 is expected to start up July 17.
  • TEPCO’s new chairman promised last week he would push to reform the company’s corporate culture. Kazuhiko Shimokobe, formerly chair of the government’s nuclear damage liability fund, said at a news conference that restarting the seven-unit Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear energy facility—the world’s largest—is crucial for the company’s financial recovery, but could not proceed without community consent. The utility is obliged to repay funds it has borrowed from the government.

Plant Update

  • TEPCO said last week that deformities in the external building walls of Fukushima Daiichi reactor 4 will not affect the safety of the reactor’s used fuel storage pool. The company measured bulges and tilts in parts of the building’s south and west faces but said the building’s strength and seismic resistance remain unaffected. The used fuel storage pool is supported by concrete pillars and steel braces.

Media Highlights

  • An editorial in The Mainichi describes the used fuel cycle policy options recently unveiled by Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission and their relationship to options on the future of nuclear energy now being debated in the country.
  • Platts reports on an initial set of post-Fukushima regulatory changes that the French nuclear safety authority, ASN, has published for the country’s nuclear reactors. Among the new requirements is for each plant site to install large “hardened” emergency diesel generators.

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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First