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Japan ramps up second nuclear reactor

by Greg Klein | October 15, 2015

A second Japanese nuclear reactor has returned to operation with the October 15 restart of Sendai 2, Kyushu Electric Power announced. The company expects the unit to begin generating electricity on October 21 and reach normal operation by mid-November. Kyushu’s Sendai 1 reached commercial production on September 11, after re-starting last August.

“We have resolved never to allow an accident such as that which occurred at Fukushima Daiichi,” the company stated. The country’s entire nuclear fleet was shut down in stages following the March 2011 tsunami that hit the plant. Kyushu pledged to “promote initiatives for improving the safety and security of nuclear power with voluntary and ongoing measures, and make an effort of positive disclosure and communication activities.”

Sitting on top of four tectonic plates, Japan is one of the world’s most seismically active countries.

Utilities have 20 more Japanese reactors moving through the restart process, “which is expected to gradually speed up after the first few units are back in normal operation,” the World Nuclear News reported. Three have already passed safety inspections. Japan hopes to supply 20% to 22% of its electricity from nuclear energy by 2030, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Industry observers generally expect uranium prices to improve after inventories decline. The most recent publicly released price indicator from Ux Consulting pegs U3O8 at $38 a pound, a dollar above the previous week.

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