APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hamaoka will shut down after all

Chubu Electric Company's board has agreed to shut down No. 4 and No. 5 plants at Hamaoka, and to not restart No. 3 which is under inspection. We don't have a time for the shutdown yet.

5:50 AM Eastern Monday 5/9


  1. This closure is to avoid perceived existing risk while undertaking upgrades to protection and mitigation against a postulated earthquake/tsunami, right?

    Assuming, of course, that such upgrades are not so expensive that implementing them will not be justifiable on the returns from the reopened plant. My main concern on this is that the uncertainty of getting permission to reopen could blow the deal, not the actual engineering works.

  2. Any time a utility agrees to suspend operations based on a request by the executive branch of a government, not a request by the supervising agency or agencies (in this case, NSC or NISA) you do have to wonder what it will take to get the plant back on line. If it IS allowed back on line. That's just the problem; the rush to judgement on these things is bypassing regulatory agencies and common sense. What if the plants are really good against the type of earthquake predicted? Does the utility have to prove they're good against not just that, but against maybe the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami measures as well? What if those don't apply? I think we can all see where this is going.

  3. Will,

    What agency is the more sensible and technically keen over there? Can't believe they'd totally scrap undamaged or well-sited plants based solely on rare theoretical hazard. I wonder how much cooperation exist among the plant owners to educate government, media and public to stem off an impulsive anti-nuke witch hunt.

    James Greenidge

  4. @jimwg: The problem with all the agencies there is that they've never had their own Three Mile Island. The people seem to have been told many times over how safe Japan's nuclear plants are, and don't have a good handle on actual risk. Frankly the people here in the US on the average have a much better idea of the risk due to all the publicity and then government and utility communication / publication after Three Mile Island. This is why such a rapid backlash is occurring in Japan.. led by their government, no less.

    For my money NISA has been the most thorough, up front, capable and realistic controlling entity in this whole thing. Part of the problem overall though is that even though NISA is very competent, the government is being hammered in some venues for its overall handling of the accident. NISA has performed its role very well it seems but given the overall growing distaste for the government performance, it may not be able to offer much that the public will trust whether the information is realistic or not.

    I surely hope the Japanese government and the utilities realize what is happening, and what they've done by asking Chubu Electric to shut down Hamaoka.