Business & Economy

Fukui plant Japan’s 1st to operate beyond 40-year limit

Tokyo, Jun 23 (EFE).- A more than 40-year-old nuclear reactor located in central Japan’s Fukui prefecture was restarted on Wednesday after securing approval from the Japanese regulator, thereby becoming the first such plant to operate in the post-Fukushima era.

No. 3 reactor of the Mihama plant returned to operation on Wednesday following the completion of the necessary inspections and after remaining inactive for a decade due to the new and more stringent safety requirements implemented in the country after the Fukushima nuclear disaster of March 11, 2011.

The reactor, which began commercial operations in 1976, is expected to be active for about four months before being deactivated again due to the need to adapt to other new safety regulations to prevent possible terrorist attacks, the plant’s operator, Kansai Electric Power, announced.

In 2016, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority granted the company permission to reactivate Unit 3 beyond the new 40-year-old limit established after the 2011 nuclear disaster after inspecting its condition and the safety measures at the facilities.

A group of residents of areas near the plant have filed a lawsuit in a local court to halt operations due to the risks they believe it poses, in line with other legal actions against other plants that have managed to reverse the plans of the operators.

Two other reactors located in Fukui prefecture have also been granted approval by the Japanese nuclear regulator to operate beyond the 40-year limit but will not be reactivated for now as they do not meet the anti-terrorism guidelines.

After several years of a nuclear blackout, Japan revived its nuclear industry in 2015.

A dozen reactors, including the reactor in Fukui, have resumed operations since then.

Japan is confident that nuclear energy will help the country meet its goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent by 2030, and achieving zero emissions by 2050.

According to the current roadmap of the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, by 2030 between 20 and 22 percent of the country’s electricity will be produced by nuclear plants. In 2019, they generated 6.2 percent.

The Asian country had just over 50 reactors before the nuclear accident and since then 21 have been dismantled, so the Japanese government considers it necessary to reactivate aging reactors to achieve its climate goals. EFE


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