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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 September 2 - 8  > Time-worn nuclear-power plant to be run in excess of 40 years
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2009 September 2 - 8 [ENVIRONMENT]

Time-worn nuclear-power plant to be run in excess of 40 years

September 4, 2009
In a report submitted on September 3 to the Nuclear Energy Council, the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency approved the further operation of the No.1 reactor of the Japan Atomic Power Company's Tsuruga plant in Fukui Prefecture, even after its 40th anniversary next March.

The Tsuruga No.1 reactor, which went critical in March 1970, is the oldest among operating atomic power plants in Japan.

In April 1981, radioactive leakage at the reactor was exposed, followed by various accidents caused by aging.

Initially, the operational life span of atomic power plants was supposed to be around 30 years. However, in 2000 when the Tsuruga No. 1 plant became 30 years old, the agencies concerned allowed its further operation after the plant implemented anti-aging measures.

In 2002, the Japan Atomic Power Company announced that the No. 1 plant will be decommissioned at the end of 2010 and replaced by two new atomic power plants.

However, because of delays in the construction of the plants, the company decided last February that the No. 1 plant will continue to be run until 2016.

Besides the Tsuruga No. 1 plant, there are six plants in Japan which will be in operation for 40 years within the next five years.

For all its deficiencies in operational technologies, poor geographical conditions, and other issues related to safety, the government is expected to allow the extension of the operational life span for these aged atomic power plants one after another. - Akahata, September 4, 2009
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