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    Japan approves reactivation of another nuclear reactor; it is similar to the Fukushima ones

    June 2, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras


      Japan - The local government of Japan's Shimane prefecture today approved the reactivation of one of its nuclear reactors, of the same type as those at the stricken Fukushima plant, which could be the first of its kind to come on line since the disaster.

      The decision was announced Thursday by the governor of western Japan's prefecture, Tatsuya Maruyama, during a session of the regional assembly, and affects the second of three units at the Shimane nuclear power plant, owned by Chugoku Electric Power, which is located in the city of Matsue.

      The utility aims to restart the unit in 2023 at the earliest. Reactor number 3 at the facility 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).

      So far the reactors that have been reactivated are pressurized water reactors (PWRs), while the Shimane boiling water reactor (BWR) is of the same type as those that suffered partial meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi 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," said government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno at a press conference today, who also pointed out 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, 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 restart reactors 3 and 4 at the Oi plant and the Tokai plant were also halted by the courts in recent years.

      Japan entered a "nuclear blackout" following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant triggered by the powerful earthquake and devastating tsunami of March 11, 2011.

      The Japanese government and nuclear regulator established stricter safety criteria in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, forcing all plants in the country to suspend operations until they abided by 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.


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