Japan Govt Panel OKs Extension of N-Reactor Operating Life


Tokyo, Nov. 28 (Jiji Press)--An experts panel under a council advising Japan’s industry minister broadly approved a plan Monday to extend the operating life of nuclear power reactors beyond the current 60-year limit, by not counting suspension periods, such as for safety screenings, in the total length of time.

The new rule will be included in the electricity business law. The industry ministry plans to submit a bill to revise the law to next year’s regular session of the Diet, Japan’s parliament.

At the day’s meeting of the experts panel under the advisory committee for natural resources and energy, the ministry presented a draft of its action plan for the country’s nuclear policy going forward. The plan says that next-generation nuclear reactors should be built initially as replacements for existing reactors for which decommission decisions are made.

After the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s <9501> tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, the country’s nuclear reactor regulation law was revised to set the maximum reactor operating period at 40 years in principle. The revised law also stipulates that the operating period can be extended only once, for up to 20 years, if approved by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Because the number of plants in operation would continue to decrease under the current 60-year limit rule including suspension periods, however, the ministry sees a need to make the most of existing reactors to ensure the stable power supply and promote decarbonization.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press