Japanese utilities consider reactor lifetime extensions

9 September 2014

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reports that decisions to decommission the seven oldest reactors in Japan may be made later this year.

Last year the Japanese government set a legal maximum 40-year lifetime for nuclear reactors, although the newspaper says that a 20-year extension can be granted in certain conditions.

Utilities seeking a reactor life extension have been told to apply for one before July 2015, according to the newspaper, which would require decisions to be made in the coming months to be able to complete the application in time.

Apart from the Fukushima Daiichi and Daiini site, the oldest reactors in the country are Japan Atomic Power's Tsuruga 1 (start of commercial operation March 1970), Kansai Electric Power's Mihama 1 (November 1970), Mihama 2 (July 1972), Takahama 1&2 (November 1974 and 1975), Chugoku Electric Power's Shimane 1 (March 1974) and Kyushu Electric Power's Genkai 1 (October 1975).

The newspaper reports that decommissioning some reactors would suit the government's interests of showing that the country is reducing its dependence on nuclear power. It also quoted unnamed sources that said that the government is looking at revising decommissioning rules to make the process easier.

All of Japan's commercial nuclear reactors are currently offline pending post-Fukushima restart investigations.

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