World's biggest nuclear plant in Japan to resume path towards restart

World's biggest nuclear plant in Japan to resume path towards restart

World's biggest nuclear plant in Japan to resume path towards restart

On Wednesday, Japan’s nuclear power regulator lifted an operational embargo imposed on Tokyo Electric Power’s massive Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant two years ago, allowing it to proceed with a restart procedure.

Tepco has been eager to restart the world’s biggest atomic power plant to minimise running costs, but doing so requires local clearance in Niigata prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast.

The facility, which has an installed capacity of 8,212 megawatts (MW), has been shut down since around 2011, when the Fukushima disaster prompted the shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Japan at the time.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) barred Tepco from operating Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, its only operational atomic power station, in 2021 due to safety violations such as failing to protect nuclear materials and errors that allowed an unauthorised staff member access to sensitive areas of the plant.

The NRA revoked a corrective action order that had stopped Tepco from transferring fresh uranium fuel to the plant or putting fuel rods into its reactors, essentially delaying a restart, citing improvements in the safety management system.

Tepco shares had climbed dramatically after the NRA announced earlier this month that it would consider removing the operational prohibition following an on-site examination and meeting with the company’s president.