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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 June 23 - 29  > 44-year-old nuclear reactor becomes 1st aging reactor to be restarted
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2021 June 23 - 29 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

44-year-old nuclear reactor becomes 1st aging reactor to be restarted

June 28, 2021

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) recently reactivated the 44-year-old No.3 reactor at its Mihama nuclear power plant (Mihama Town, Fukui Prefecture). The offline reactor whose operation life span of 40 years was brought online for the first time since the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law was revised in 2012.

The revised law limits the operation period of nuclear reactors to 40 years in principle while leaving the possibility that the operation of a 40-year-old reactor will be allowed to be renewed once for up to 20 years if the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) approves. The law designates this as a “rare exception”.

However, the NRA, in addition to the No.3 reactor at the Mihama NPP, has given the green light to the continuous use of other more-than-40-year-old reactors. They are the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at the KEPCO’s Takahama NPP (Takahama Town, Fukui Pref.) and the No.2 reactor at the Japan Atomic Power Co.’s Tokai Daini NPP (Tokai Village, Ibaraki Pref.).

Regardless of the duration of operation, if a nuclear accident occurs, it will bring about significant damages as evidenced in the nuclear meltdown accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP ten years ago. Given this, it is outrageous to disregard the “40-year limit” rule, which was set after the major nuclear accident, and to attempt to normalize the operation of aged reactors. This will pose a threat to the general public, including but not limited to nearby residents.

The government policy clinging to nuclear power generation hinders the promotion of renewable energy. The government should shift from the current policy to one centering on renewable energy.

Past related articles:
> Aging Tokai Daini nuclear power plant passes safety screening [September 27, 2018]
> Extension of ‘40-year’ limit to operation of nuclear reactors deepens public concern over nuclear power generation [November 21, 2016]
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