Japan Mulls Extending N-Reactor Operating Life

Economy

Tokyo, Nov. 8 (Jiji Press)--Japan's industry ministry is considering extending the operating life of nuclear reactors beyond the current 60-year limit practically by excluding suspension periods, such as for safety screenings, from the total period, officials said.

This is one of three options over the extension of the reactor operating life unveiled by the ministry at a meeting of a subcommittee of the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy on Tuesday.

The maximum operating period for nuclear reactors is set at 40 years in principle, and the period can be extended by up to 20 years if approved by regulators. The country introduced the rules after the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Of the three options, the ministry is giving weight to exempting suspension periods caused by factors that were unforeseeable by operators, such as safety checks by the Nuclear Regulation Authority and courts' injunctions to halt operations, from the total operating life.

The other two options are maintaining the current system and scrapping the operating life limit outright.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press