MOX Fuel at Ikata in Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku

I was hoping this would not happen. Protesters are also outside the plant. They read out a statement protesting the insertion of nuclear fuel into the No.3 unit. The statement said the system for transmitting electricity to the plant cannot withstand a powerful earthquake and the plant's safety cannot be guaranteed. A stable power supply is needed to maintain the cooling of the reactor. One of the protesters said that in view of the powerful temblors that struck Kumamoto, the operator should not rush the process of inserting fuel into the reactor.

NHK World: Fuel loading begins at Ikata No.3 nuclear reactor

Workers have begun loading nuclear fuel into a reactor at the Ikata power plant in western Japan. The operator plans to restart the reactor in late July.

They started removing units of fuel rods from a pool on Friday, and placed them into the No.3 reactor one at a time. Sixteen of the 157 units of fuel rods are the type of fuel called MOX, which is a mixture of plutonium extracted from spent fuel and uranium.

The operator, Shikoku Electric Power Company, plans to complete the procedure next Monday.

The utility hopes to put the reactor back online in late July, after conducting drills based on the scenario of a serious nuclear accident.

The reactor's operations were suspended in April 2011, following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident the previous month.

But Japan's nuclear regulators decided last year that the No.3 reactor met the new government regulations that were introduced after the Fukushima accident.

Ikata will become the 3rd nuclear plant to be restarted under the new regulations, following the Sendai plant in southwestern Japan and the Takahama plant in central Japan.

But the 2 reactors at the Takahama plant are now offline under a court injunction.


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