|Adding Nuclear Fuel Rods to the Pressure Vessel|
Officials at the Sendai nuclear power plant in southwestern Japan say they plan to start loading fuel into one of the reactors next Tuesday.
The Kyushu Electric Power Company reported the plan to the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Friday. Earlier the same day, pre-loading inspections were completed at the Number 1 reactor.
The utility expects it will take 4 days to insert 157 nuclear fuel assemblies into the reactor. Workers will use a crane to transfer the fuel rods one by one from a storage pool in an adjacent building.
Kyushu Electric will then check emergency equipment to inject coolant into the reactor and a device to insert control rods.
Workers will also undergo a drill to rehearse their response to a severe accident.
If all goes as planned, the utility will remove the control rods to activate the reactor in mid-August.
The Sendai plant’s Number 1 and Number 2 reactors became the first to clear safety screenings last year.
The screenings were required under the country’s new, stricter regulations introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
The Number 1 reactor began undergoing equipment inspections in late March ahead of the Number 2 reactor.
All of Japan’s 43 reactors are currently offline.