Examining the Electricity Supply Plans for FY2011
The Electricity Business Act stipulates that electricity utility companies must submit a Supply Plan to the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry annually before the beginning of each fiscal year. However, neither Tokyo Electric nor Tohoku Electric had made their submissions as of April 16 because conditions had not allowed them to complete the plans. Obviously this was due to the earthquake off the Pacific coast of northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011 and tsunami.
The major earthquake and subsequent nuclear accident that occurred at TEPCO's (Tokyo Electric Power Co.) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (Fukushima I) ought to be affecting the nuclear plant construction plans of other utility companies, yet these companies submitted their reports as if nothing had changed. Perhaps they felt they could simply alter them next year seeing as these reports are little more than formalities, the details contained in them being consistently put off every year or every other year.
In fact, the construction plans for Tohoku Electric's Namie Odaka plant and Higashidori-2 in particular, and TEPCO's Fukushima I-7 and 8 have as a rule always been delayed to the following year. Even the Higashidori-1, for which construction began in January 2011, had been a regular repeat performer on the delay list. Even without the Fukushima I accident, the plan would certainly have been extended again for one year. Following the accident, however, construction at Higashidori-1 has been stopped for both the development of the power source and construction of the main building.
As plans have not been forthcoming from both Tohoku Electric and TEPCO, this year's plan delays have been limited to a rescheduling of the start of operations for Chugoku Electric's Shimane-3 from December of this year to March 2012, and similar delays for Japan Atomic Power's Tsuruga-3 and 4, currently undergoing safety screening, with the former being changed from March 2016 to July 2017 and the latter from March 2017 to July 2018. In fact, there is one more alteration, the planned Chubu Electric's Hamaoka-6. Originally scheduled to start operations after FY2020, it was rescheduled to some time after FY2021. A note in parentheses states a target of "within several years of 2018," so it is possibly being delayed more than one year to some time between FY2021 and FY2023.
The delays at Shimane-3 are due to trouble with the control rod drive mechanism. The plan was for the mechanism to be overhauled by the manufacturer, Hitachi, but the Hitachi factory is currently shut down due to the March 11 earthquake. The start of operations for the reactor will likely be delayed further.
The delays at Tsuruga-3 and 4 are due to a protraction of safety screening due to the question of earthquake resistance. Construction work scheduled for October of last year could not be started and delays were already announced at the time. These delays will likely continue as a result of the March 11 earthquake.
Under question is Kyushu Electric's planned Sendai-3 reactor. The start of operations, originally scheduled for 2019, has now been scheduled for December of that year, with the start of construction being moved from FY2013 to March 2014. It is not clear whether this represents a rescheduling or not.
Kyushu Electric's president announced on April 11 that they "do not intend to adhere to the current schedule", saying that preparations will be postponed for the time being.
While Chugoku Electric has stopped preparatory construction on Kaminoseki-1, they have not altered their plan, which stipulates the start of construction in June 2012 and the start of operations in March 2018. The schedule for Kaminoseki-2 is also unchanged, with the start of construction scheduled for FY2017 and the start of operations for FY2022. In fact, the plans for both had already just been updated the previous year with a two-year delay.
Baku Nishio (CNIC Co-Director)