11:35 GMT +311 December 2018
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    This picture shows the No. 3 reactor (R) at its Ikata nuclear power plant of Shikoku Electric Power in Ehime prefecture, about 700 kilometres (430 miles) southwest of Tokyo on August 12, 2016

    Japanese Ikata NPP 3rd Reactor Begins Energy Generation

    © AFP 2018 / JIJI PRESS
    Asia & Pacific
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    The third reactor at the Ikata Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), located on the Japanese Island of Shikoku, that was restarted on August 12, began generating energy, NPP operator Shikoku Electric Power was cited as saying on Monday.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) Reactor will reach its full capacity on August 22, but the beginning of its commercial operation is scheduled for September 7 after conclusion of the agreement with the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), Kyodo news agency reported.

    The reactor is the only one in the country to run on mixed oxide fuel (MOX), which is a blend of plutonium and certain types of uranium, which is produced from the utilized nuclear fuel. Scientists have controversial opinions on this kind of fuel as plutonium is far more radioactive than commonly used low-enriched uranium, and the use of plutonium-based fuel requires compliance with higher safety and security standards.

    In April, the Nuclear Regulation Authority announced that the Ikata's Unit 3 passed a three-step approval process following nationwide NPP shutdowns in the wake of 2011 9.0-magnitude offshore earthquake. The reactor restarting procedures were launched in June, but the authorities deemed the reactor's functioning unsafe, and the process was postponed.

    The opponents to the restart of Ikata NPP also commonly recall its location on the Shikoku Island — in case of a disaster, a rapid evacuation would be unlikely to take place as the involvement of air and maritime transport would be necessary.


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