TOKYO, Sept 5 Japan's top steel maker Nippon
Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp said on Friday it plans to
restart its Nagoya steel plant as early as late Friday after it
was shutdown due to a fire on Wednesday, its fifth accident this
The Nagoya plant in central Japan, which was built in 1958
and produces about 15 percent of the country's total steel
output, has suffered power failures and smoke releases four
times from January to July, raising concerns about the safety of
the old facilities.
Nippon Steel has received permission from local police and
the prefectural government to resume operations at the plant,
except for a coke oven and its related facilities where the fire
started, on condition it ensured safety and soundness of the
facilities, a company spokesman said.
"We plan to restart two other coke ovens as early as tonight
after ensuring safety and soundness of the facilities and
gradually restart other units," he said, adding that the timing
of the restart of all facilities is not clear.
The plant, which produced 6.74 million tonnes of crude steel
in the business year to March 31, supplies about half of its
products to automakers including Toyota Motor Corp,
Honda Motor Co Ltd and Suzuki Motor Corp.
The plant has about two weeks of stockpiles of most of its
products and plans to bring some products from its other plants
if needed, the spokesman said.
Nippon Steel, which posted a group recurring profit - pretax
and before one-off items - of 361 billion yen ($3.43 billion) in
the last business year, has said the power failure in January
cut its profit by 8 billion yen.
The similar incident in June is expected to reduce its
profit for the current business year by 10 billion yen, but the
impact from the latest accident on its output and earnings is
unknown, the spokesman said.
(1 US dollar = 105.1800 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Michael Urquhart)