Tokyo Electric Power Co, known as Tepco, needs to get Kashiwazaki-Kariwa running to reduce fuel costs, which totaled 1.34 trillion yen ($16.87 billion) in the six months through September when none of its reactors were online.
Restarting Kashiwazaki was also a central plank of the bailout of Tepco by the government, which injected 1 trillion yen of capital into the utility in July. Tepco also got a commitment from its banks to lend it another 1 trillion yen based on getting the reactors operating again to reduce losses.
Tepco President Naomi Hirose said two weeks ago that Tepco remained committed to starting the first of the plant’s seven reactors in April. But Tepco’s lack of transparency after the Fukushima disaster is a major concern, especially for those living in the shadow of the plant.
Workers could be seen setting steel reinforcing in place for a 1-km (half mile) section of concrete wall. In the distance, waves crashed against a sea barrier.
On a hill above the reactor buildings, pump trucks and trucks with generators and heat exchangers are standing by in case the power and cooling system are knocked out.
The company was also filling a newly completed reservoir capable of holding 20,000 tonnes of water for use in an emergency to keep reactors cool.
Tepco still needs to have radiation filters installed to protect staff inside an emergency bunker it built after the 2007 earthquake, Arai said.
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