Japan plans 40-yr limit on reactors’ life, with exceptions via Reuters

Japan plans to limit the life of nuclear reactors to 40 years, allowing extensions only under stringent conditions, and to legally bind plant operators to prepare for severe accidents, the nation’s nuclear crisis minister said on Friday.

The plan is part of a revision in a law on nuclear plant operations following the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami that triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant and the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago.

With strong public opposition to building new reactors, Japan is bound to reduce its reliance on nuclear energy which before the disaster covered about a third of its electricity needs. How long the existing reactors will remain in operation will affect utilities’ long-term business plans and determine how rapid will be Japan’s shift away from nuclear power.

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