Wednesday, December 7

Kyushu Elec applies to extend life of Sendai nuclear reactors to 60 years

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TOKYO — Kyushu Electric Power Co Inc applied to the regulator to extend the life by 20 years of the No.1 and No.2 reactors at its Sendai nuclear power station in southwestern Japan to 60 years.

To cope with soaring energy prices, Japan has said it will restart more idled nuclear plants and look at developing next-generation reactors as well as extending the lifespan of existing reactors in a major policy shift on nuclear energy a decade after the Fukushima disaster.

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After the required inspections, Kyushu Electric confirmed the soundness of the reactors and containment vessels, adding that there would be no safety issues with even 60 years of operation, the company said.

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The move follows similar requests by Kansai Electric Power Co Inc and Japan Atomic Power Company. A total of four reactors has been so far approved to extend the operating period to 60 years, according to an official at the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

A nuclear power reactor, in principle, can be operated for 40 years under current regulations, but it can be extended for up to 20 years on a one-time basis.

Sendai’s No. 1 unit and No.2 unit will be in operation for 40 years in July 2024 and November 2025, respectively.

The timing of the regulator’s decision will depend on the examination, but the decisions were made about a year after the applications were submitted in the past cases, the NRA official said. (Reporting by Yuka Obayashi, Editing by Louise Heavens)