February 22, 2016 / 10:37 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Japan's Kansai Electric to stay with Takahama restart plan

(Recasts with intention to stay with restart schedule, updates with reason for water leak.)

By Osamu Tsukimori

TOKYO, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power said on Monday it will stay with its scheduled restart of the Takahama No. 4 reactor at the end of February, rescinding the possibility of a delay after a contaminated water leak on Saturday.

Kansai Electric, Japan’s second-biggest utility, had earlier on Monday said it may delay the restart after a leak of 34 litres of slightly radioactive water on Saturday at the No. 4 unit at its Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui prefecture, 500 km (310 miles) west of Tokyo.

However, after finding the leak was caused by an insufficient tightening of bolt on pipes in the reactor the company will stay with its original start date, a company spokesman said late on Monday.

After the repairs, the company will begin a final test late on Monday before restarting the reactor, said the spokesman. The test was delayed from Sunday because of the leak, but Kansai expects to restart the reactor by the end of this month.

The water was cleared after the Saturday incident and there was no impact on the environment, the company said earlier Monday.

The No. 4 reactor has been shut since July 2011, months after an earthquake and tsunami devastated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Kansai Electric restarted its Takahama No.3 reactor late January as part of test operations, making it the third reactor in Japan to resume operations after passing stringent safety checks imposed following the Fukushima disaster. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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