March 19, 2015 / 9:01 AM / 5 years ago

Japan's Kyushu hopes to restart reactor in July: company official

Kyushu Electric Power's Sendai nuclear power plant is seen in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima prefecture April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Mari Saito

TOKYO (Reuters) - Kyushu Electric Power Co hopes to restart a nuclear reactor in southwestern Japan in July, a company official said, marking what would be the nation’s first resumption in about two years following stringent safety checks that were imposed after the 2011 Fukushima crisis.

However, with the fight over restarting Japan’s nuclear industry moving to courts, power companies face the risk of further delays in firing up idled reactors if judges side with local residents worried about nuclear safety.

Kyushu on Thursday notified the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) that it plans to get ready to restart the 890-megawatt Sendai No.1 reactor by the end of June, company and NRA officials said.

Kyushu would like to begin the restart process in early July, said a company official, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The nuclear operator hopes to resume commercial operations of the No.1 unit in August, the company official said, adding that the schedule could be delayed as it is the NRA that would finalize the timings.

The submission of inspection application came a day after Kyushu received approval for construction works upgrading the unit’s basic design to meet higher standards set since the Fukushima disaster.

Japan’s government is aiming to restart a nuclear reactor by around June following a lengthy and politically-sensitive approval process, sources familiar with the plans have told Reuters.

Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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