NRC Approves AREVA’s application to ship reload fuel for troubled Genkai Reactor 1

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NRC AREVA Export of Nuclear Fuel to Genkai Nuclear Power Station
The Genkai Nuclear Power Plant is located in the town of Genkai in the Higashimatsuura Districtin the Saga Prefecture. It is owned and operated by the Kyūshū Electric Power Company.  Japans nuclear reactors are mostly shut down for inspections, and there are serious questions about the future restarts as the anti-nuclear sentiment grows in Japan.

While residents in Japan were filing a law-suit against Kyushu Electric, attempting to prevent the restart of the Genkai nuclear power plant, the NRC approved an application to export nuclear fuel to the troubled station.


In December, Genkai Mayor Hideo Kishimoto complained that Kyushu Electric has not been fully open with information.

“The local government needs to know,” Kyodo News agency quoted him as saying. “I have repeatedly demanded the utility change its ways.”


The Genkai nuclear station has been the focus of controversy after it was discovered that Kyushu officials had specifically instructed employees of the plant to sent emails to this meeting with positive mails for the restart. Later was admitted that not only employees of the utility but the workers of 4 affiliated firms too—more than 1,500 people in total—were involved in this.

In October Kyushu electric sent a report about the email-affaire to minister Edano, but it left out all the views of the independent commission under chairman lawyer Nobuo Gohara, that Saga Gov. Yasushi Furukawa‘s remark to senior Kyushu Electric officials induced the firm to start an e-mail-campaign to boost support for the restart of the reactors in a government-sponsored television program broadcast in June.

The minster demanded a revision of the October report, because in Edano’s eyes this made the investigations of the commission meaningless. In the revised report Kyushu Electric did cite the views of the independent commission, but it also added a rebuttal to this views, on the instructions of the firm’s president Manabe and with approval chairman Shingo Matsuo.

Kyushu is desperate to restart the station as nuclear power generation did account for about 40 percent of the total output of the company, according to company official Akira Nakamura.

In December Nakamura  said that restarting reactors was crucial for them, and that the company will do all it can do to win back public-trust.

However, Hideo Kishimoto, the mayor of Genkai said that it would be difficult to resume operations. He asked Kyushu Electric to disclose their practices in full, besides their efforts to prevent future accidents.

Last December a law-suit was started against Kyūshū Electric Power Company by 290 local residents. Most of them living in the prefectures Saga and Fukuoka. They said that the disaster in Fukishima had made it clear, that an accident at the Genkai-plant caused by a possible earthquake or tsunami could damage the lives and heallth of the people living nearby.

They questioned in particular the safety of the 36 year old nr. 1 reactor near the sea. Kyushu Electric commented, that it would examine the suit and would act “appropriately.”

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