Japan officially reentered the nuclear energy sphere this morning.
Kyushu Electric Power Company announced that at 10:30 a.m., control rods were extracted from Sendai Nuclear Power Unit No. 1, catalyzing the atomic reactions that power the plant.
“This is a momentous occasion. I applaud the government of Japan, and Kyushu Electric Power Company in particular, for their unwavering dedication to reengaging the country’s nuclear energy capacity,” said Scott Campbell, President of The Howard Baker Forum. “This accomplishment, marked by the utmost consideration for safety and integrity, comes less than two years after the last Japanese plant was shut down. That is truly impressive.”
Although the pursuit of nuclear restart has been controversial in Japan, nuclear is slated to play a significant role in the country’s energy future, comprising up to 22% of the nation’s electricity supply by 2030.
The first step in achieving this ambitious goal has been taken today. Though the process was started this morning, the plant is expected to achieve criticality, or a self-sustaining cycle, around 11:00 p.m. tonight. The reactor should reach its full capacity of 890,000 kilowatts in a little over one week, around August 20.
Understandably, concern for the stable ramp up of the plant is paramount in order to ensure the future of Japanese energy security. Forum on Energy will continue to monitor the space and track developments in this historic process.