Japan reactor halted over pressure drop

Japan is already sweltering in the summer heat as it seeks to save electricity and avoid blackouts.

Tokyo: A Japanese power firm on Saturday said that
it would halt operations at a nuclear reactor because of a
technical failure, placing further strain on the country`s
power supply.

Kansai Electric Power Co said it would manually shut
down reactor No 1 at its Ooi plant in central Japan because
of a temporary pressure drop in a standby tank.

The tank contains boric acid solution that can be pumped
in to slow nuclear fission in case of emergency.

Pressure in the tank had already returned to the correct
level, but the company decided to shut down the reactor "to
give the top priority to safety and find out the cause," a
company spokesman said.

The company did not yet know when the reactor would
resume operations, but there had been no radiation leak, he

The stalled reactor is one of four at the Ooi plant and
has a capacity of 1.18 million kilowatts. It provides four
percent of the power generated by the company, according to
Jiji Press news agency.

Japan is already sweltering in the summer heat as it
seeks to save electricity and avoid blackouts, with many
nuclear reactors remaining shut after the March 11 earthquake
and tsunami.

Utilities not directly affected by the twin disasters
have held back from restarting reactors that were under
maintenance at the time or entered regular check-ups after the

As a result only 19 of Japan`s 54 reactors are now
operating. The Ooi shutdown - to be completed by today evening
- will bring the number to 18, with further reactors soon due
to shut down for regular checks.


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