TOKYO Dec 22 Hokkaido Electric Power Co (9509.T)
started generating power to sell from a new nuclear reactor on
Tuesday, the first new unit in over three years in Japan, and a
move that will limit fuel purchases for the firm.
Commercial operations at the 912-megawatt No.3 nuclear
generator at its Tomari plant on Japan's northernmost island
started in the late afternoon, after getting the go-ahead from
the government, the power firm said in a statement.
Hokkaido Electric has two other nuclear generators at the
Tomari plant, each with a total capacity of 579 megawatts, and
along with the No.3 unit the plant is expected to meet about 40
percent of the firm's electricity generation needs.
The start of business at the atomic reactor was the first in
Japan since Hokuriku Electric Power Co (9505.T) began commercial
operations at the 1,206-megawatt No.2 nuclear generator at its
Shika plant in western Japan in March 2006.
With the start of the new Tomari unit, Japan has 54 nuclear
power generators for commercial use, for a total generating
capacity of 48,847 megawatts, the world's third-biggest nuclear
generation capacity after the United States and France.
(Reporting by James Topham; Editing by Chris Gallagher)