Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said on 7 October that Shikoku Electric Power Company's decommissioning plan for unit 2 of its Ikata NPP in Ehime prefecture had been approved.

The 538 MWe pressurised water reactor, which began operating in 1988, was taken offline in January 2012 for periodic inspections. In March 2018 Shikoku said it did not plan to restart the reactor because the cost and scale of the modifications needed for the unit to meet NRA’s post-Fukushima safety standards made it uneconomical.

In October 2018, Shikoku submitted an outline of its decommissioning plans to the NRA and also submitted requests to Ehime prefecture and Ikata municipality, in accordance with nuclear safety agreements concluded with those authorities. NRA’s review of the plans included seven public meetings. Decommissioning of the unit is expected to be completed by 2059.

Decommissioning of the unit, according to the plan, will be carried out in four stages. The first, lasting some 10 years, will involve preparing the reactor for dismantling, including the removal of all fuel and surveying radioactive contamination. Some 316 used fuel assemblies that will be sent for reprocessing and 102 fresh fuel assemblies that will be returned to the fuel fabricator. During the second stage, lasting 15 years, peripheral equipment from the reactor and other major equipment will be dismantled. The third stage (about eight years) will involve the demolition of the reactor, and in the fourth stage (about seven years) all remaining buildings will be demolished and the land will be released for other uses.

Shikoku Electric said in a press release: “In the future, we will obtain the consent of Ikata Town, Ehime Prefecture, based on the safety agreement. As with Unit 1, we will steadily proceed with the decommissioning of Unit 2 with the highest priority given to ensuring safety.”

Shikoku decided to decommission unit 1 (also a 538 MWe PWR) in March 2016. Unit 1 began commercial operation in September 1977and was taken offline in September 2011 for routine inspections. Shikoku decided on decommissioning in face of required upgrades costing more than JPY170 billion ($1.5 billion). NRA approved the 40-year decommissioning plan for Ikata 1 in June 2017.