Kyushu Electric Power Co. said Friday it was loading fuel into the second reactor at its Sendai nuclear power plant, bringing it a step closer to a planned mid-October restart.
The No. 2 reactor at the two-unit plant will be the second nationwide tosecure a restart since regulators imposed tighter safety requirements on the industry following the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Kyushu Electric reactivated the No. 1 unit at the complex on Aug. 11, which marked a revival of nuclear power generation in Japan after a two-year hiatus.
On Friday, the utility began inserting a total of 157 fuel rod assemblies into the No. 2 reactor — a process that is expected to take about four days to complete.
The government identifies nuclear power as a key electricity source. It is promoting the restarting of idled reactors even though anti-nuclear sentiment remains strong among the public.
However, the outlook for the resumption of other nuclear reactors remains uncertain due to hurdles such as the need for prolonged safety screenings by the regulator.
Kyushu Electric expects its earnings to improve by ¥15 billion a month when the two units are online, potentially putting it into the black this business year for the first time in five years.