Restart of Japan’s Tokai 2 deferred again

2 March 2022

Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC) said on 28 February that it does not now expect to complete required safety upgrades at Tokai 2, an 1100MWe boiling water reactor, in Ibaraki prefecture until September 2024. 

Tokai 2, which started commercial operation in 1978, has remained offline while JAPC undertakes work required to meet stricter safety regulations set after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. 

The operator has been planning to restart the plant, after gaining approval from the Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in November 2018 for the extension of its operations beyond the preliminary 40-year limit.

Construction work on safety countermeasures, which includes a 1.7km-long sea wall and a bunkered back-up control centre, was scheduled to be completed in March 2021. However, in January 2020, JAPC announced that construction was taking longer than expected and completion was then rescheduled for December 2022.

In March 2021, a district court barred restart of Tokai 2. The plaintiffs, who live in Ibaraki and surrounding prefectures have expressed concerns, as around 940,000 people live within a 30-kilometre radius of the plant and only five of the 14 municipalities within the radius have formulated regional evacuation plans in the event of a disaster, and that those need improvement. However, the court did not find any problems with the plant's earthquake and tsunami estimates or with the earthquake resistance of its building.

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