Postponement in MOX Fuel Program at Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station Unit No. 4
December 06, 2010
Chubu Electric Power Co.,Inc.
This is to announce that Chubu Electric Power today decided to postpone its MOX fuel program for Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station Unit No. 4 (boiling water reactor; rated output 1,137 MW), a program which was to be implemented this fiscal year (FY2010), and that we will not load the MOX fuel during the currently proceeding regular inspection.
Chubu Electric Power is proceeding with the necessary licensing procedures (e.g., for authorization to modify the reactor installation) in preparation for the MOX fuel program at Unit No. 4 and is working to ensure safety. Concerning Unit No. 4's safety in the event of seismic activity, we are proceeding with seismic design that incorporates a safety margin, based on seismic motion with sufficient margin not only for the anticipated Tokai earthquake, but also for the even greater historic Ansei-Tokai earthquake, and we believe we have ensured sufficient safety.
Members of the regional community have asked us for an explanation of Unit No. 4's seismic safety, but we have determined that at this point some time will be necessary to meet this request, for the following reasons:
1. The national government gave greater priority to a deliberation of the factors, etc., involved in the fact that tremors in Unit No. 5 were greater than in other units during the Suruga Bay earthquake. Because we were responding to this deliberation, we did not make progress on our examination for the deliberation of a seismic safety assessment of Unit No. 4 in terms of the new seismic durability guidelines.
2. As a result, we are not yet prepared to provide an explanation of the status of deliberations on the seismic safety of Unit No. 4 in terms of the new seismic durability guidelines as requested by members of the regional community.
Therefore, we have decided to postpone the MOX fuel program.
As Japan is a nation with few energy resources but high energy consumption, Chubu Electric Power believes it is essential that we advance the MOX fuel program, which will help to deal with the problem of global warming and effectively use uranium resources to ensure a stable supply of energy in the future.
Chubu Electric Power will make every effort to be able to implement the MOX fuel program at an early date and will make the safety of the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station our highest priority as we aim to run a power station trusted by the regional community.
Chubu Electric Power reported the results of our seismic safety assessment of Unit No. 4 in terms of the new seismic durability guidelines to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency in January 2007. Presently, a national government Working Group* is deliberating the content of our report. Additionally, Chubu Electric Power has reported to the Working Group, in turn, new knowledge gained from the July 2007 Chuetsu earthquake and analysis results of observational records from the August 2009 Suruga Bay earthquake.
*The government Working Group refers to the Joint Working Group for Earthquake, Tsunami, Geology, and Foundation and the Structural Working Group under the Seismic and Structural Design Subcommittee, Nuclear and Industrial Safety Subcommittee, Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy.