Japan's Kansai Electric to restart Takahama 1

27 June 2023

Japan's Kansai Electric Power Company has informed the Fukui prefectural government that it plans to restart unit 1 at its Takahama NPP in late July, followed by unit 2 reactor in mid-September.

This came after Kansai Electric received approval from the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to begin loading fuel at unit 1. The NRA has not yet approved fuel loading fuel unit 2 but assuming NRA approves, Kansai plans to load fuel at Takahama 2 in early August.

In May Kansai delayed restart of both reactors which had been scheduled for June 3 and July 15, noting that the NRA was unlikely to be able to complete its review of fire protection measures at the units in time.

Restart of Takahama 1&2 will see Kansai Electric operate all of its seven operable reactors for the first time under the new more stringent regulatory standards introduced in 2013 in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

Takahama 1&2 would also be the second and third nuclear reactors to restart in Japan with over 40 years of commercial operations following the NRA's approvals in 2016, along with unit 3 of Kansai Electric's 826 MWe Mihama NPP which restarted in 2022.

After being informed of the restart plans, Yuichiro Sakamoto, a senior disaster management official of the Fukui government, urged Kansai Electric to "be aware always and strongly that it is activating the second reactor in the country with an operating life exceeding 40 years."

After the March 2011 triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi, NRA introduced the current rule limiting the nuclear reactor operating life to 40 years in principle, which can be extended for up to 20 years following inspections and approval.

Image: Aerial view of the Takahama nuclear plant (courtesy of Takaharu Yagi)

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