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Japan: Shut down a nuclear reactor after a security alert

The plant operator and the Japanese nuclear policeman, who were trying to determine the root of the problem, said a reactor at a nuclear power plant in central Japan shut down automatically on Monday after its safety systems were triggered.

The Japanese authority stated that the activation of a warning of a sudden decrease in the amount of neutrons caused the shutdown of reactor No. 4 at the Takahama power plant at approximately 3:21 pm local time (6:21 am GMT). Nuclear Safety Authority (NRA).

But the NRA said in a statement that the reactor was “cooling down naturally,” and that no abnormal level of radiation had been detected near the plant.

Kansai Electric Power, which operates the Takahama plant, said in a statement that it was still investigating.

Fukui Prefecture, where the plant is located, said the cause of the alarm has not yet been determined, but no abnormalities in the temperature or pressure of the reactor were found.

That reactor, one of four at the Takahama plant, was restarted last November after a routine check.

Japan has 33 theoretically operable reactors, but only 9 of them are currently operational, nearly twelve years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, due to a massive tsunami caused by a magnitude 9 earthquake.

Japan, which relies heavily on imported oil and gas, aims for a nuclear share of 20-22% of electricity generation by 2030, compared with 30% before Fukushima and 6.9% for the annual exercise ending at the end of March.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also hopes to see additional reactors restart this year. He also started thinking about new generation reactors and proposed extending the operational life of old plants beyond the current limit of sixty years.

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