Japan Wants Nuclear Reactors to Withstand 9/11 type Airplane Attacks

  • Our Bureau
  • 09:21 AM, March 16, 2020
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Japan Wants Nuclear Reactors to Withstand 9/11 type Airplane Attacks
No.1 and No.2 reactors of the Kyushu Electric's Sendai nuclear plant (image: Kyodo)

Japanese nuclear regulator has shut down Kyushu Electric Power Co. reactor today for failure to comply with anti-terror measures that include being able withstand airplanes crashing into them.

In its first such suspension since stricter rules were introduced by the Nuclear Regulation Authority in 2013, the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture turned off its No. 1 reactor today afternoon.

This is due to the delay in the implementation of anti-terrorism measures, deadline for which was set for Tuesday. The construction plan for No. 1 reactor was approved in May 2018, but only 50% of electric and machinery work was complete as of February, while 90% of civil engineering work was done, local media reported.

Kyushu Electric will aim to reboot the unit on December 26 after the installation of necessary facilities and regular safety checks.

The existing rules came into play two years after a nuclear disaster, caused by an earthquake and subsequent Tsunami hit Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, in 2011.  According to the rulebook, nuclear plant operators are required to build facilities that can withstand terrorist attack such as planes being flown into them, like in the 9/11 incident.

The plant must not succumb to major damages like massive leakages of radioactive materials. Coolant pumps and emergency power sources are to be placed remotely.

The No. 2 reactor at the Sendai Plant is also scheduled to be halted in May for the same reason and restart in January 2021.

Kyushu Electric plans to make up for the electricity shortages by producing power from thermal energy.