Japan’s first pluthermal nuclear power reactor has begun operation, 10 years behind schedule.
began operating the reactor on 5 th November using plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) as fuel for the first time in the country, about 10 years behind the initial plan for the so-called pluthermal electricity generation. Fission began at the 1.18GW No. 3 reactor at Kyushu Electric Power’s Genkai nuclear power plant in . The PWR achieved criticality later that day, and officials at Kyushu Electric said that the reactor will begin generating electricity on 9 th November and raise its power output gradually.
The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is scheduled to conduct checks on the reactor at the start of December to examine its power output stability and core performance. If the reactor passes these checks, it will be clear to enter fully-fledged operation.
In February 1997, the cabinet endorsed the power industry’s plan to use MOX as fuel in reactors. Kansai Electric Power Co gained government approval for its MOX plan at that time, and Tokyo Electric Power Co gained approval in 1999.
But the plan hit a snag due to a series of problems, particularly involving cover-ups of reactor trouble at various nuclear power plants, as well as opposition from local governments and residents.
Kyushu Electric, a Fukuoka-based power firm supplying electricity to the Kyushu region, gained government approval in 2005 for pluthermal power generation at the Genkai plant.