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Japan studies plan to extend life of 60-year-old nuclear plants

The No. 3 unit at the Mihama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, the first reactor in Japan to operate beyond the 40-year service period. The No. 1 and No. 2 units of the plant will be decommissioned.

Nov 28, 2022

Japan will consider keeping some nuclear reactors operating beyond a current 60-year limit as the country focuses increasingly on atomic power as a solution to an ongoing squeeze on energy supply.

Officials are studying a plan to exclude periods when reactors were offline from an existing limit on their lifespan, which would allow some facilities to operate for longer, according to a document released Monday by a trade ministry panel. Reactors are often halted for years to allow the nation’s nuclear watchdog to perform inspections, or as a result of legal challenges.

Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, which was triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami, Japan introduced stricter safety standards limiting the operation of nuclear reactors to 40 years in principle.

But operation for an additional 20 years is possible if safety upgrades are made and a reactor passes screening by regulators.

The proposal to allow operations beyond the 60-year limit comes as Japan’s public and government shift back in favor of nuclear power, despite experiencing one of the worst atomic meltdown disasters. The import-dependent country has this year grappled with more expensive fossil fuel prices as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, along with a weak yen, and seen its stretched power grid put under severe pressure.

The government has repeatedly asked people to take steps to limit their electricity consumption, by using fewer appliances or cutting back on heating.

In August, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the government will explore developing and constructing new reactors, and that it will also aim to restart seven more idled reactors from next summer.

The trade ministry proposals also call for new, next-generation nuclear reactors to be built at sites where existing units will be decommissioned.

Japanese manufacturers have announced plans to develop next-generation reactors this year. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is jointly developing an advanced light water reactor with four other Japanese power producers, while a venture between Hitachi and General Electric is also reported to be developing a new reactor model.


December 4, 2022 - Posted by | Japan | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Absolutely NOT! Japan is way too reckless and China is always blamed. NO.

    Comment by Toni L Schuler | December 4, 2022 | Reply

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