Units 1 and 2 at Japan’s Takahama NPP in Fukui Prefecture on 24 February received initial approval to restart – the first safety clearance for reactors running beyond the government-mandated 40-year service period under new rules set after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has approved safety measures implemented at the Takahama units by Kansai Electric Power Co as being in compliance with post-Fukushima regulations. The decision will be finalized after soliciting technical comments from the public.

However, the units still require major assessments by NRA on its anti-quake measures and other older facilities and approval will have to be granted by 7 July if they are to continue in service. The new safety rules in principle prohibit the operation of nuclear reactors beyond four decades, but operation for an additional 20 years is allowed if operators make safety upgrades and pass the regulator’s screening. Takahama 1 marked 40 years of operation in November 2014 and unit 2 in November 2015.