national

Kansai Electric applies to extend life of 2 aging reactors

14 Comments

Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO) has submitted a request to the Nuclear Regulation Authority to extend the operational period of the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at its Takahama nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture.

Both reactors are currently offline. The No. 1 reactor is already more than 40 years old, which is the limit set by a law regulating the operation of nuclear plants, while the No. 2 reactor will turn 40 in November.

KEPCO made the application after its president, Makoto Yagi, told a news conference on April 30 that the utility reported a group net loss of 148.38 billion yen for fiscal 2014 due to the cost of thermal power generation to replace nuclear power.

KEPCO received a setback last month when the Fukui District Court issued an injunction to prevent the restart of the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at the Takahama plant.

Local residents had sought an injunction against the No. 3 and 4 reactors at Takahama, arguing that restart plans underestimate earthquake risks, fail to meet tougher safety standards and lack credible evacuation measures.

All four reactors, located on the Fukui coast, had already met safety regulations set by the nuclear regulator and were expected to be restarted some time this year.

Kansai Electric, which raised prices by 14% last month for its corporate customers, serves Japan's second most important economic region, where companies including Panasonic Corp and Sharp Corp are headquartered.

Japan has been importing record amounts of liquefied natural gas and coal to fill the gap for power generation.

Imports of LNG and coal are expected to stay high unless Japan moves to start more than a few reactors, analysts have said.

© Japan Today/Thomson Reuters

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
Login to comment

Kansai Electric applies to extend life of 2 aging reactors

Why not drill a hole in them to save on cooling costs, too?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Kansai Electric applies to extend life of 2 aging reactors?

The No. 1 reactor is already more than 40 years old, which is the limit SET by a LAW regulating the operation of nuclear plants, while the No. 2 reactor will turn 40 in November. How can Kansai Electric APPLY to extend the life of two nuclear plants that are older than the LAW allows? I guess giving money to key, corrupted officials, supersedes the law.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Kansas Electric recently took the decision to end their Mihama No1&2 reactors which have reached the end of their 40 year life cycle. Deciding that the high costs to update them to meet the new NRA regulations and the lower power outputs were not economically worth it.

The normal life cycle of the reactors are now 40 years but the power companies can apply for a 20 year extension provided they undergo stringent Nuclear Regulation Authority tests. Kansas Electric have decided on this course for their No1&2 Takahama reactors. The company have filed an appeal against the court injunction preventing the restart of their Takahama No3&4 reactors.

The No1 Tsuruga reactor owned by the Japan Atomic Power Company will also be decommissioned. Kyushu Electric Power no1 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant and the No1 reactor at the Chugoku Electric Power Shimane nuclear plant will also be decommissioned, currently making five in total.

It appears that the cost of decommissioning a reactor could be about ¥200 billion and will take many decades to complete without a current solution from the central government for the safe long term storage of the high grade radioactive waste. The cost of decommissioning a reactor is included in the power charges but I expect these power companies will go with cap-in-hand to the government. A decommissioned reactor will produce about 3,000 tons of high grade nuclear waste. The government estimated in 2013 the direct costs of decommissioning a reactor would be up to about ¥85 billion but does not include compensating the local communities.

According to the NRA, more than 20 reactors from the nuclear fleet will require decommissioning costing many billions of yen. Coupled with the costs of the nuclear disaster it's difficult to see how nuclear energy could be considered a cheap energy. Since the introduction of the regulations the cost of nuclear energy as greatly increased.

I suggest that Kansai Electric are trying to extend the life cycle of the Takahama No1&2 reactors because of the court injunction against the company.

The future long term use of nuclear energy remains unclear but the current government are expecting by 2030 nuclear energy will generate about 20% of total power demand.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

These reactors were only built to last 30 years. By TEPCO's own admission, the meltdowns were caused by failing to properly maintain and upgrade the aging reactors. Now, we have these clowns pleading to have the same aged reactors brought back online with virtually no upgrades at all? These wombats remind me of the scene from the Simpsons where Bart kept touching the buzzer and getting zapped. Even the youngest child knows, if you play with fire you will get burned. Grow up KEPCO!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Two more Fukushima's in the making. And I don't think it is nice to leave future generations with taking care of our trash for 10,000 years. And what about after the collapse of techno-scientific civilization, when there will be no social organization to take care of the waste? It is all over.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

A constant battle between money and power , which as always, leave the vast majority of people who wish only to live in peace and harmony, without a word to say... It seem that they are some who continue to find more acceptable solutions to the energy problem ; just a very small example : http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015/05/tesla-powerwall-a-battery-for-your-home/ or Solarroadways invented by Scott Brusaw https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlTA3rnpgzU http://goo.gl/bRNnVn Hemp as fuel of energy source: It is possible to produce all of our energy with Cannabis Hemp. The unique growing properties of the plant make it the ideal crop for our energy needs. One acre of Cannabis Hemp can produce 1000 gallons of methanol in a single growing season. Any CO2 released from burning Cannabis Hemp would be the same CO2 the plant had already taken from the environment, creating what is called a closed carbon cycle. A closed carbon cycle system of energy production would slow down the effects of global warming, and with well-implemented plant growth could possibly stop global warming entirely. No other plant on earth could meet the needs of global energy consumption, but Cannabis Hemp could. : http://www.hemphasis.net/Fuel-Energy/fuel.htm http://hempethics.weebly.com/hemp-and-sustainability.html Non toxic material made from hemp can replace plastic: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/01/28/new-plastic-zeoform-turns-hemp-into-almost-anything/ Soil enrichment: The hemp crop grows dense and vigorously. Sunlight cannot penetrate the plants to reach the ground, and this means the crop is normally free of weeds. Its deep roots use ground water and reduce its salinity. Also, erosion of topsoil is limited, thereby reducing water pollution. The roots give nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil. After the harvest, this soil makes excellent compost amendments for other plants, and hemp cultivation can follow the rotation of agriculture with wheat or soybean. In fact, the same soil can be used to grow hemp for many years, without losing its high quality. The hemp plant absorbs toxic metals emitted by nuclear plants into the soil, such as copper, cadmium, lead and mercury. Water and soil purification

Hemp can be used as a "mop crop" to clear impurities out of wastewater, such as sewage effluent, excessive phosphorus from chicken litter, or other unwanted substances or chemicals. Eco-technologist Dr. Keith Bolton from Southern Cross University in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia, is a leading researcher in this area. Hemp is being used to clean contaminants at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site. This is known as phytoremediation - the process of clearing radioisotopes as well as a variety of other toxins from the soil, water, and air.[45]

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Kansai Electric, which raised prices by 14% last month for its corporate customers, serves Japan’s second most important economic region, where companies including Panasonic Corp and Sharp Corp are headquartered.

...and how much price raise is imposed on millions of people residing in the same region?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the utility reported a group net loss of 148.38 billion yen for fiscal 2014 due to the cost of thermal power generation to replace nuclear power.

No. The reason for their loss is because those plants wouldn't have been operating anyway because they exceeded their legal operating limit and the company completely failed to plan for alternative power sources after the nuclear power plants shut down. Don't go around blaming everyone else for your lack of planning KEPCO.

Also, let me get this straight... the director of the company admits to breaking the law by exceeding the safe operating limits of nuclear power plants and files paperwork to that effect with a judge and... he's not in prison?

Why?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Zichi: The normal life cycle of the reactors are now 40 years but the power companies can apply for a 20 year extension provided they undergo stringent Nuclear Regulation Authority tests.

Thank you for the information! I was wondering if you knew any details of what those "stringent" test are? Also curious if there is anyway for the public to verify if those test are truly being done, or do we have to just trust what KEPCO & the NRA says?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

40 years? It is time to decommission those plants.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't understand why Japan doesn't go for hydro, solar, or wind power.. Not to mention a couple of large geothermal plants would be super successful with their volcanic activity...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Stuart hayward

Thank you for the information! I was wondering if you knew any details of what those "stringent" test are? Also curious if there is anyway for the public to verify if those test are truly being done, or do we have to just trust what KEPCO & the NRA says?

The nuclear disaster didn't happen because of the age of the reactors but because of a powerful earthquake and tsunami hitting the nuclear plant which was poorly located and too many bad plant designs, for instance, emergency generators located at sea level, main power switchgear located on ground/1st floors, lack of watertight doors on the reactor buildings.

There was a serious lack of safety culture from TEPCO. Even with the powerful earthquake and tsunami the nuclear disaster could have been avoided. On the day of the disaster there were three out of six reactors operating which shut down when the earthquake occurred the failure happened with the total loss of power onsite/offsite.

Between 2005 and 2007, three nuclear power plants were shaken by earthquakes that far exceeded the maximum peak ground acceleration used in their design.

The second Fukushima NPP at Daini was also struck by the earthquake and a 13-meter-high-tsunami knocking out the No2 seawater pumps used to cool the reactors. The plants three operating reactors cames within 60 minutes of beginning meltdowns and only the quick thinking and actions of the plant manager and the 2,000 operators prevented that from happening.

The No1 reactor at Fukushima was the oldest at the plant, started March 1971, so in 2011 it would have been 40 years. The No1&2 Takahama reactors are 41&40 years, and the No3&4 reactors are both 30 years. The NRA have passed the No3&4 reactors for operation but KEPCO are currently prevented from restarting those reactors because of an injunction. This has caused KEPCO to apply to extend the life cycle of the No3&4 reactors which it probably didn't initially plan to do so. KEPCO have also made the decision to decommission its No1&2 Mihama reactors, stating it's too expensive to update them compared with their lower power output.

As for extending the reactor life cycles beyond 40 years following "stringent" tests, I don't know the exact content of that. In the UK, between 1989 and 2012, 25 reactors were shutdown with the oldest being about 50 years. I think the oldest operating reactor in the US is about 52 years. Prior to the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the new nuclear regulations the cost of building a nuclear plant was about 20 years of operations so a further 20 years would give a very high level of profit returns. In the current fleet of reactors there is about ¥50 trillion so it will be difficult to prevent the power companies from going after it.

Since it's establishment, the new NRA have been transparent in its activities and are providing information that was not freely available from the previous atomic agencies. They also publish an extensive amount of information and reports in English vis their website.

https://www.nsr.go.jp/english/

I suggest you read the Annual Reports, the last one being for FY2013.

https://www.nsr.go.jp/data/000067054.pdf

The NRA/Japan are now more open about its nuclear industry than probably any other country. The NRA have failed some reactors and passed others with its stress tests, so on that level, I think I can trust them. However, the final decisions about any reactors will be with the government who I probably would trust much less given its long history with the nuke village.

I would seriously think that KEPCO and the other seven mainland power companies, excluding TEPCO would not want a repeat of Fukushima with its loss of business. I trust KEPCO to mostly be doing the right actions but probably the request to extend the life cycles of the Takahama reactors may be more political than operational intentions.

The cost of updating a reactor to meet the new nuclear regulations is up to about ¥200 billion and the costs to extend the life cycle even higher. The costs to decommission a reactor will probably be ¥100 billion or less.

The "stringent" tests for extending the life cycle of reactors does include checking every major part for cracks and wear and checking the previous replacement dates of all parts which are mostly required to be replaced every 20 years. There are also inspections of the concrete and steel containment vessels and checking the working condition of every single monitoring sensor inside the reactor.

Probably as many as two-thirds of the reactor fleet will never return to operations unless the government decides otherwise. The government statement that by the year 2030, nuclear power will provide 20-22% of total power is a step backwards and a sign of returning to the bad old days of the nuke village prior to nuclear disaster.

Last year the Cabinet decision stated the "introduction of renewable energy sources will be sped up to the greatest degree possible. Furthermore, by adopting renewables and energy-saving systems, as well as by increasing the efficiency of thermal power generation, we will reduce dependence on nuclear power to the greatest possible extent."

The majority of the people, too, want a non-nuclear dependent society.

The number of reactors considered to be safe will reduce the total power output to about 15% to increase that to 20-22% by 2030 means extending the life cycles of those reactors, or alternatively building new nuclear plants which is even less likely to happen.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Zichi: As always, thank you for your time and information you provided. I will read the links and the annual reports you suggested.

I was in no way suggesting that the nuclear disaster was caused simply by the age of the power plant. Though I do see a connection related to no one being held accountable for avoiding previous safety issues & recommendations.

I guess the government has the final say, no matter what the NRA says. Plus a new secrecy act that covers energy production, economy and national security, nuclear details could fall under any, or all of those categories.

Due to past nuclear culture & actions, and now with new commitment to produce 22% nuclear energy, I'm personally not all that confidant we will hear every detail of why certain nuclear plants are given the green light.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Did Tesla Just Kill Nuclear Power?

We all know that the wind doesn’t blow consistently and the sun doesn’t shine every day, - he said, “but the nuclear industry would have you believe that humankind is smart enough to develop techniques to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, but at the same time human kind is so dumb we can’t figure out a way to store solar electricity overnight. To me that doesn’t make sense.”> http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2015/05/01/did-tesla-just-kill-nuclear-power/?utm_source=followingweekly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20150504**

**

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites