Pump malfunction stops energy output at Sendai Plant

Japanese officials restarted the the No. 1 reactor at the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant earlier this month, and it’s already running into technical difficulties. Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power stopped the ramp up of power from the reactor due to the malfunction of a pump in the plant’s secondary cooling system.

The Sendai Nuclear Power Plant was the first Japanese nuclear reactor to be reactivated since the Fukushima disaster in 2011. Most reactors are not restarted after being offline four years. Engineers and scientists are therefore unsurprised that the reactor is running into some difficulties, given that the plant has not been operational for some time.

Officials believe that seawater may have entered one of the pumps in the secondary cooling system, which is responsible for cooling the steam that turns the turbines. Kyushu Electric was hoping to increase the output of the reactor to 95 percent by Friday; however, these plans have been thwarted because of the suspected pump malfunction.(1)

Critics argued that restarting the reactor was premature. Fukushima was a cautionary tale about the dangers that nuclear power plants can pose in the event of a natural disaster. Although officials claim that the Sendai power plant passed the world’s strictest safety regulations, many fear that they have not made adequate evacuation preparations in the event of a natural disaster.

These concerns were also fueled by the fact that the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant is a mere 30 miles away from an active volcano.

The recent malfunction does not ease or re-assure an already nervous public. Nevertheless, the nuclear industry continues to march forward, hoping to begin commercial operation in early September. Given these preliminary malfunctions coupled with an active volcano that is ready to blow, many citizens are worried about the kind of future the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant will bring.(1)

Sources include:

(1) FukushimaUpdate.com

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