Japanese nuclear reactor to go offline

The operator of a nuclear power plant in southwestern Japan will suspend one of its reactors on Monday, as it cannot meet the deadline for building mandatory facilities to deal with emergencies.

Kyushu Electric Power Company began work to reduce output at the No.1 reactor at the Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture at 2:30 a.m. on Monday.

The utility will stop generation and transmission work at the reactor around 9 a.m. before suspending its operation about four hours later.

Kyushu Electric will start regular inspections on the reactor earlier than scheduled.

This is the first time that a reactor will go offline because of the failure to meet part of the government's new regulations.

The regulations were drawn up in 2013 after the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant two years earlier.

They require nuclear plant operators to construct facilities to ensure the safety of reactors in the event of emergencies, such as acts of terror and aircraft crashes.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority, or NRA, obliges the operators to erect such facilities within five years of construction plans being approved.

Kyushu Electric says it aims to put the reactor back online after completing the necessary facilities by December and gaining approval from the NRA.

The utility also plans to shut down the No.2 reactor at the Sendai plant in May for the same reason.