Japan's nuclear watchdog approved new regulations Wednesday that will allow reactors to operate longer than the previous limit of 60 years as the nation looks to increase the share of power generated by nuclear energy.
But realizing the plan could take time, as new legislation is needed in order to put the recommendations into practice. The government aims to introduce such legislation during next year’s parliamentary session, where a tough debate between supporters and opponents of extending the use of nuclear power is likely.
The decision came a day after the Osaka District Court rejected a local effort to halt operations at the 46-year-old Mihama No. 3 reactor, in Fukui Prefecture, operated by Kansai Electric Power Co. (Kepco). It also comes after a trade ministry panel last month recommended operations beyond 60 years, and as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government pushes continued use of older nuclear plants in the years ahead to meet national carbon reduction goals for 2030 and 2050.