Operators outline plans for scrapping three reactors in western Japan

Kyodo

Japan Atomic Power Co. said Friday it plans to scrap an aging reactor in Fukui Prefecture, by fiscal 2039, while Kansai Electric Power Co. will decommission two old reactors in the same prefecture over the next three decades, starting fiscal 2016.

Last March, the two power companies said they would shut down the three reactors — all over 40 years old — in the industry’s first response to stricter government regulations set in 2013 following the Fukushima nuclear crisis. But the companies did not outline specific schedules for the decommissioning at that time.

The new safety rules prohibit the operation of nuclear reactors beyond 40 years in principle, but operation for an additional 20 years is possible if operators make safety upgrades and pass the regulator’s screening.

Japan is aiming for at least 20 percent of its electricity to be generated by nuclear power by 2030, after all of the country’s reactors were suspended for safety reviews following the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Japan Atomic Power said in a release that it plans to remove nuclear fuel from the No. 1 reactor at its Tsuruga plant by fiscal 2024, scrap the reactor by fiscal 2033 and demolish the reactor and turbine buildings by fiscal 2039.

The Tokyo-based utility has notified the mayor of Tsuruga of the plan and applied to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for approval of the reactor shutdown.

Under an agreement reached Wednesday with Fukui Prefecture, the utility vowed to make efforts to invite companies and spur local employment through the decommissioning work.

Kansai Electric explained its decommissioning plan for the No. 1 and 2 reactors at its Mihama plant to Fukui prefectural officials the same day.

Elsewhere in Japan, Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Chugoku Electric Power Co. have also decided to scrap their aging No. 1 reactors at the Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture and the Shimane plant in Shimane Prefecture, respectively.