The operator of the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, says it found seawater used to cool steam has leaked from some pipes.
The trouble occurred at a condenser for the plant’s No.1 reactor last Thursday. Officials at Kyushu Electric Power Company found elevated salt levels in the machine.
The condenser uses seawater to turn the steam from the power turbine back into water. The reactor has 3 condensers, and each one is equipped with 26,000 thin pipes to carry seawater.
Utility officials have been checking these pipes. They say they found cracks in 5 pipes in one condenser and that seawater had leaked from them.
The officials stopped the flow of seawater by putting plugs in the 5 pipes. They are now checking the other tubes. The utility firm says they will keep running the reactor.
The trouble occurred 9 days after the operator restarted the reactor on August 11th. It was the first to go back online under new regulations introduced after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011.
The utility was due to raise the reactor’s power output to 100 percent on Tuesday. But the problems are expected to delay the scheduled work by about one week.