Japan took the decision on Thursday to restart one of its nuclear reactors
, of the same type as those at the accident-prone Fukushima plant. It is the second of the three units of the Shimane plant, owned by the Chugoku Electric Power company, which is located in the city of Matsue.
The decision was made official by Tatsuya Maruyama, the governor of that prefecture located in western Japan, during a session of the regional assembly. The energy company aims to restart the unit in 2023 at
The facility's reactor number 3 is under evaluation, while it has been decided that reactor 1 will be decommissioned, according to the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC).
For the time being, the reactors that have been reactivated are pressurized water reactors (PWR). The one at Shimane, on the other hand, is boiling water reactor (BWR), the same type as those that underwent partial meltdowns at the Fukushima plant after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
"We must respect the decisions of the nuclear regulatory authority as long as the new regulations are passed," government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference today, also noting that this type of energy is "important"
in a context of limited supply and rising fuel prices.
The government-level approval of the reactor restart comes two days after a court halted the start-up of an atomic power plant in Hokkaido (north), a new judicial setback for the government's plans to expand atomic power generation in the wake of the post-Fukushima blackout.
Plans and approvals to reactivate reactors 3 and 4 at the Oi plant (west) and the Tokai plant (center) were also halted by the courts in recent years.
A slow road after the "nuclear blackout "
Japan entered a "nuclear blackout"
after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, triggered by the powerful earthquake and devastating tsunami of March 11, 2011.
It was the worst disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. It was almost three o'clock in the afternoon when a magnitude 9 earthquake caused a gigantic tsunami with waves as high as buildings. this phenomenon, in turn, triggered the accident at that nuclear plant. The result: 18,500 dead and missing.
The government and the Japanese nuclear regulator established stricter safety criteria in the wake of that crisis, forcing all plants in the country to suspend operations until they met the new standards.
Japan restarted its first reactor after the crisis in 2015
. Since then, ten have returned to operation, eight have obtained permission (counting today's) and ten are under inspection. Eight others have not started applications and 21 have been decommissioned.
Two boiling water reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, one at the Onagawa plant and one at Tokai have been given the go-ahead to operate, but none have been reactivated for the time being.
This hampers the Japanese government's goal of having nuclear power plants contribute between 22 and 24% of its energy mix towards its 2030 decarbonization target.
With information from EFEDB