Power Line
The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan Vol.7
January 2000

1999: The Year in Review

FOR THE NUCLEAR POWER industry in Japan, 1999 was a year of both advances and challenges. On the one hand, the number of nuclear power plants under construction grew a part of Japan's efforts to meet its ever-escalating energy needs in the coming decades. At the same time, however, September's criticality accident at the JCO facility in Ibaraki Prefecture forced the industry to take action in order to reinforce confidence in nuclear energy.

Introduction of New Power Plants

MapIN PREPARING TO meet Japan's energy needs for the 21st century, the year 1999 was productive in terms of new power plant construction.

Tohoku Electric Power Co. began construction at the end of 1998 of its new Higashidori Nuclear Power Station in Aomori Prefecture. This plant is constructing a boiling water reactor (BWR) capable of generating 1.1 million kW; it represents the fourth nuclear power reactor for the company and will be the 54th in Japan. Covering an area of approximately 378 square meters, it is the first to be constructed at a new site in Japan in a decade. Fuel assemblies are slated for loading into the reactor by September 2004, and commercial operations are projected for July 2005.

Meanwhile, two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) are under construction: Chubu Electric Power Co.'s Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station No. 5 Unit in Shizuoka Prefecture was initiated in March 1999; and the Hokuriku Electric Power Co.'s Shika Nuclear Power Station No. 2 Unit in Ishikawa Prefecture began construction in August 1999. This ABWR technology has been developed since the late 1970s to enhance safety, operations and cost efficiency, based on improved and proven BWR technologies. To date, two units have been in operation at TEPCO's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station in Niigata Prefecture since 1996 and 1997. The Hamaoka No. 5 Unit, with a generation output of 1.38 million kW, is scheduled to begin operations in January 2005, and the Shika No. 2 reactor, with an output of 1,358 million kW, is scheduled for March 2006.

In addition to these, a plan to construct the Electric Power Development Co.'s Ohma Nuclear Power Station in Ohma, Aomori Prefecture, received government approval in August 1999, and was added to the government's plan for power development. The Ohma power plant will supply electricity to nine electric utilities in Japan. It is the first ABWR in the world designed to use MOX fuel fully. The loading of MOX fuel will involve step-by-step procedures to confirm its performance: at first it will co-use uranium fuel, then the percentage of MOX fuel will be increased gradually until full core is achieved. Construction of the plant is expected to commence in March 2002 and operations are projected to begin in July 2007, adding 1.383 million kW to Japan's electric power grid.

Nuclear Power Plants (under construction)