A nuclear reactor will be shut down in western Japan Wednesday because of cooling water valve troubles, its operator said. The company said it was still checking the cause of the trouble but did not believe there was any chance that cooling water would leak out of the plant.
Operations at the number two reactor of Mihama Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui will be suspended manually, said Kansai Electric Power, which runs the plant. No indication was given as to how long the reactor would be shut down.
The manual shutdown was acknowledged as a safety precaution after it discovered unusual levels of coolant leaking from a valve inside the containment vessel, but there have been no radiation leaks, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.
Japan’s second-largest power utility said the problem at the 500 megawatt reactor in western Japan had not affected pressure inside the reactor vessel or the operation of the unit.
“We’re checking the cause of the trouble,” the spokesman said.
Mihama No. 2, which was due to be taken down for maintenance on Dec. 18, is Japan’s fourth-oldest nuclear reactor and one of only nine still operating after the Fukushima crisis in March stirred fears over atomic power safety.
A spokesman at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, Japan’s nuclear watchdog, said it had been notified of the incident.A valve connected to the reactor’s pressuriser, which maintains pressure inside the reactor vessel to prevent water from boiling, was leaking greater amounts of water than usual, leading the utility to decide to shut the reactor.
“As we understand it, this is not due to a failure in the pressuriser,” he said.
Yoshihiko Kondo, a spokesman for the plant’s operator, Kansai Electric Power said that a loss of pressure had been detected late Friday in an accumulator tank needed to cool the reactor core in an emergency, forcing the utility to shut down the reactor. Workers will begin the shutdown at 1 p.m. Saturday in Japan, and shutdown will be complete by 9 p.m., he said.
Source: Monsters & Critics
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