Five Japanese reactors to close permanently

18 March 2015

Japanese utilities have announced plans retire and decommission five reactors, which started up between 1970 and 1975.

On 17 March, Kansai Electric Power Co. officially decided to decommission its two pressurised water reactors Mihama 1&2, and the Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC) said it would shut its 357MWe Tsuruga 1 boiling water reactor. All three units are located in Fukui prefecture.

The following day, 18 March, Chugoku Electric Power Co. announced its plans to decommission Shimane 1 (460MWe BWR) in Shimane prefecture, and Kyushu Electric Power Co. said it would retire Genkai 1 (559MWe PWR), located in Saga prefecture.

In the case of Mihama 1&2, Kansai decided that given the 'relatively low' electricity outputs the company would be unlikely to recover the costs of work necessary for safety upgrades to extend their lives. The other utilities are said to have made decisions for similar reasons, reports the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF).

It says the four power companies are due to officially report their decisions to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on 19 March.

Meanwhile, Kansai has applied to the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for examinations of Mihama 3 (826MWe PWR) and Takahama 1&2 (both 826MWe PWRs), for compatibility with the new regulatory standards.

As of 18 February, 20 units had applied for such safety reviews, according to JAIF. The lead unit, Sendai 1, gained the NRA's approval for its construction plan on 18 March, which means the 846MWe unit is technically ready for restart. Three other units Sendai 2 and Takahama 3&4 have also made upgrades are at an earlier stage in the process.

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