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TEPCO seeks nuclear power industry tie-up with key players

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Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant
August 22, 2018
Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc., operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, has begun talks with the nuclear industry’s key players about a possible tie-up for maintenance and management services and decommissioning of reactors.
The company is in discussions with Chubu Electric Power Co., Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp., according to sources.
If the talks go well, a consolidation of the nuclear industry could be in the cards, the sources said.
TEPCO seeks to restart two of the seven reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture in the near future. Both are boiling water reactors, the same type as those that are to be decommissioned at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
TEPCO operates 11 boiling water reactors, seven of which are located at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant. The remainder are located at the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant.
However, the utility announced in June it would pull the plug on the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant, which suffered damage in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami and narrowly escaped a serious disaster like at its sister plant.
Chubu Electric also operates three boiling water reactors at its Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka Prefecture. The plant’s two other reactors are in the process of decommissioning.
Hitachi and Toshiba were both involved in the design and construction of those reactors.
The four parties seek to streamline their nuclear energy operations through cooperation in maintenance and management services as well as safety management of their facilities after the restarts of their reactors.
Utilities today face an exceedingly higher price tag for bolstering safety precautions at their plants that are required under the stricter new reactor regulations put in place in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima No. 1 disaster.
With none of their reactors back online, TEPCO and Chubu Electric fell behind other utilities.
Kansai Electric Power Co. and other operators of pressurized water reactors have restarted their plants.
Meanwhile, work to decommission reactors is looming large for TEPCO and other utilities, as many reactors are aging and nearing their 40-year life span.
The four companies are also expected to discuss possible construction of new nuclear plants in the coming years.
TEPCO plans to call on other electric power companies to join a consortium it seeks to set up in fiscal 2020 in connection with its project to construct the Higashidori nuclear plant in Aomori Prefecture. The construction of the facility has been suspended since the quake and tsunami.
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August 27, 2018 - Posted by | Japan | , , , ,

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