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