New plant review ordered following Japan’s earthquakes

January 17, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News

Japanese regulators have ordered further review at a nuclear power plant in central Japan following a series of deadly earthquakes that rocked the country on New Year’s Day.

The powerful quakes and following aftershocks have claimed more than 200 lives so far.

Details: Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority said the earthquakes inflicted more shaking than the Shika Nuclear Power Plant is built to withstand, though it does not appear to pose any immediate threat. The plant, located in Ishikawa Prefecture, experienced shaking of 957 gal during the 7.6-magnitude earthquake. It was built to withstand shaking up to 918 gal.

Following the quake, Shika was hit by a 3-meter tsunami, according to officials, which damaged some of the power transformers. The facility will rely on backup power transformers until repairs are completed.

The two-unit Shika plant has been off line since 2011, shortly after the Fukushima disaster. The government is in the process of reviewing proposed safety measures at the site, as plant operator Hokuriku Electric Power Co. would like to restart one of the units.

What’s next: While no major problems have been reported so far at the plant, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said the results must be “factored in” and safety standards upgraded accordingly.

At a news conference on January 10, Nuclear Regulation Authority chair Shinsuke Yamanaka said it would take years to gather detailed earthquake data, adding, "I think the safety review will take even longer than that."

Related Articles