Twenty-year extension to be sought for aging Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant via The Japan Times

Japan Atomic Power Co. plans to file Friday an application with the Nuclear Regulation Authority seeking approval for a 20-year extension to the operational life of its aging Tokai No. 2 power station in Ibaraki Prefecture, the operator said Tuesday.

If it gains approval, the single-reactor plant, which is currently offline, will be the fourth nuclear facility in Japan to get a longer life span. In addition, it will be the first extension for a plant with a boiling-water reactor, the same type as the reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

In Japan, the operational limit of nuclear reactors is set at 40 years in principle, but the period can be extended by up to 20 years if the NRA gives its approval. The Tokai No. 2 plant will reach 40 years in operation next November.


The firm has already decided to dismantle Tokai Nuclear Power Plant, also in Ibaraki Prefecture, as well as unit No. 1 at the Tsuruga Power Station in Fukui Prefecture. Meanwhile, active faults were recently discovered underneath unit No. 2 at the Tsuruga station, which is also offline, clouding the prospects of its restart.

“Tokai No. 2 is critically important for our management,” Japan Atomic Power President Mamoru Muramatsu said Tuesday after holding separate meetings with Kazuhiko Oigawa, the governor of Ibaraki Prefecture, and Osamu Yamada, the mayor of the Ibaraki village of Tokai, on the same day where he informed them of the application plan.

Both the governor and the mayor stopped short of commenting on the advisability of reactivating the plant.


The 1.1-million-kilowatt Tokai No. 2 plant went into operation in November 1978, and was stopped after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The NRA is expected to compile a report that will effectively give a green light for the resumption of the operations at the Tokai No. 2 plant, recognizing that it has met the stricter safety standards introduced after the March 2011 meltdowns.

To seek an extension of the operational period, Japan Atomic Power needs to submit a separate application to the NRA by Nov. 28, a year ahead of the 40-year limit.

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