national

Nuclear Regulation Authority inspects 3 aging reactors

16 Comments

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) on Friday continued its safety screening of three aging nuclear reactors whose operator Kansai Electric wishes to put them online and keep them in use beyond the 40-year operational limit.

The NRA is inspecting the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at the Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture, as well as No. 3 reactor at the Mihama plant, also in Fukui.

Tougher safety standards set after the March 11, 2011 Fukushima disaster are aimed at scrapping aging reactors. All 48 of Japan's nuclear reactors were taken offline after the disaster. As many as two-thirds of the country's reactors may never return to operation because of high costs, local opposition or seismic risks, a Reuters analysis showed last year.

Kansai Electric Power, which depended on its nuclear fleet for nearly half of its total power output before 2011, has already said it would scrap its Mihama No. 1 and No. 2 reactors.

The new safety standards limit a nuclear reactor's lifespan to 40 years unless it can clear tough rules for a one-time extension. The deadline to apply for that extension is July 2015.

Japan's trade ministry has been pushing nuclear operators for a quick decision on scrapping aging reactors that are too costly to upgrade, promising financial support for a smooth decommissioning.

Japan has revised accounting rules to allow utilities to spread the write-offs for reactor closures over 10 years and to pass on some of the cost to ratepayers.

© Japan Today/Thomson Reuters

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
Login to comment

beyond the 40-year operational limit

I think they should instead throw the reactors a nice retirement party.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan has revised accounting rules to allow utilities to spread the write-offs for reactor closures over 10 years and to pass on some of the cost to RATEPAYERS? It should say they are passing the cost to the PUBLIC.

Besides, the electric companies are the ones who are supposed to put their OWN money aside for decommissioning, not the public.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How about, "HELL NO!!!"?

The reactors may theoretically be okay, but the buildings they're in would have been torn down and rebuilt in ANY other industry in Japan. With Japan's almost daily micro-quakes you simply can't try and apply international standards.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Once again the farce of claiming that Japan can't build new nuclear plants because nuclear power is too dangerous, even though the Dai Ichi accident could not have happened at a 21st century designed plant. But because we need power we have to keep running really old plants, but trust us they are 100% safe. Even though they are far less safe than the plants we claim we can't build for safety reasons... For 4 years this has been about nothing other than corporate suits looking for the financial sweet spot. None of them care about your "safety".

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Besides, the electric companies are the ones who are supposed to put their OWN money aside for decommissioning, not the public.

Where do you think companies get money their OWN money? From their customers. Any cost put on a company is ultimately passed on to their customers.

beyond the 40-year operational limit

And that limit was set as just a guess.

At the time commercial reactors first started being built there were no reactors that had run for more than about 10 years. So nobody knew exactly how the reactor vessel, which was thought to be the limiting component, would hold up to the heat, pressure and neutron bombardment because the only way to know for sure was to actually subject the metal to actual operating conditions and see how it was affected over time. Based on what they did know it was felt that 40 years was a very safe and very conservative estimate.

Now there are reactors that have run for upwards of 60 years. And detailed analysis and testing of the reactor vessels have shown that they withstand operating conditions better than originally thought. So countries have allowed the limit to be increased after the specific reactor vessel is inspected.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Mike O'BrienApr. 03, 2015 - 08:45PM JST Based on what they did know it was felt that 40 years was a very safe and very conservative estimate.

Very safe. Very conservative. Very good idea when dealing with something that could destroy and entire country. Anything less is just idiotic.

Now there are reactors that have run for upwards of 60 years.

Bull. The oldest running nuclear reactor in the world is in Germany, and it started operation in 1969, making it 46 years old. The first nuclear power plant in the world was in Russia and started operation in 1954, and was shut down in 2002. In short, there is NOT ONE reactor that has been running for 60 years, never mind "upwards of 60 years", never mind "reactors".

And detailed analysis and testing of the reactor vessels have shown that they withstand operating conditions better than originally thought.

Since you claim there are reactors (note the plural) that have been running for 60+ years and there are NONE then I seriously suspect you're pulling this "fact" out of thin air too.

So countries have allowed the limit to be increased after the specific reactor vessel is inspected.

There are fewer than 500 nuclear power plants in the world, operating in more than 30 countries under drastically different conditions. Your argument would be like saying, "Hey, look my car doesn't rust in Nervada after 10 years, so you car shouldn't rust in California!!".

... in short you're mistaken. Stop making up facts, people here aren't idiots.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

In the USA the standard age is 32-40 years and most of the plants have another 40 years to go on the license. the idea that 40 is the optimum time period for operation is incorrect- the question is how good the control systems are, the containment vessel is and whether the plant received regular updates.

you should also do the same with fossil plants- however most stay untouched from the time of installation till the time they are mothballed, there is a new attempt at a :"Clean coal fired solution" however there are inherent safety solutions there- as the CO2 buildup along with the mercury removed from the atmosphere (coal still remains 66% responsible for acid rain and mercury) are normally stored on site initially and there is a large potential to leaks.

however when people start talking nuclear and safety all real numbers tumble out the window- no one wants to look at safety numbers of nuclear energy vs the other big energy sectors, and no one wants to look at the polution numbers as well

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I am doubtful of the independence of any government agency in this country.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

praackApr. 03, 2015 - 10:30PM JST In the USA

The USA is completely different to Japan. Japan records about 1500 earthquakes a year, which is three times more than Alaska, and about 30 times less than Hawaii.

... and nobody in the USA is stupid enough to build a nuclear power plant in Alaska or Hawaii because drumroll earthquakes!! The one plan there was to build a nuclear power plant in Alaska planned to built it buried deep underground as a safety precaution, and it was cancelled because even with that safety precaution people were still going, "Erm... no thanks.".

the standard age is 32-40 years and most of the plants have another 40 years to go on the license. the idea that 40 is the optimum time period for operation is incorrect- the question is how good the control systems are, the containment vessel is and whether the plant received regular updates.

You're comparing apples with oranges and then making speculations about the price of fish. In short comparisons with the US power industry (which is notoriously sloppy about safety) are completely unimportant.

however when people start talking nuclear and safety all real numbers tumble out the window- no one wants to look at safety numbers of nuclear energy vs the other big energy sectors, and no one wants to look at the polution numbers as well

You're right, nobody wants to look at pollution numbers, like the hundreds of miles of North-Eastern Japan that are completely uninhabitable, or the tons of nuclear waste they can't find anywhere to dump, or generally the HUGE problems they have when things go wrong. Those numbers are conveniently ignored, and the costs of things like decommissioning obsolete plants are handed off to the public so nuclear power keeps on looking cheap, and a whole lot of other dodgy accounting.

And trying to treat it as a "nuclear vs coal" forced choice when Japan has one of the biggest coastline to land ratios in the world and has abundant geothermal power is just wrong.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

All of the old nuclear reactors emit radioisotopes whether they are active or not.. Most radioisotopes have a positive ionic frequency called Cation.. These cation can be bonded and trapped by a negative ionic frequencys called Anion.. Sodium Bicarbonate and Calcium Bentonite are both emitters of an Anion ionic frequency that can bond trap and eliminate radioisotopes.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

like the hundreds of miles of North-Eastern Japan that are completely uninhabitable

Hyperbole much? The only part of Japan that is or ever has been uninhabitable due to the accident is the part inside the gates of the Dai Ichi plant.

and nobody in the USA is stupid enough to build a nuclear power plant in Alaska or Hawaii because drumroll earthquakes

The earthquake straw man again. The accident was not caused by the earthquake, it was caused by the criminally negligent decision (likely for financial reasons) to ignore the threat of tsunamis in the Pacific Ocean. Where that threat was taken seriously by other power companies, even closer to the epicenter, there was no accident. Designing a nuclear power plant to withstand a major earthquake is just an engineering issue, and well within present technological capability.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

and nobody in the USA is stupid enough to build a nuclear power plant in Alaska or Hawaii because drumroll earthquakes

And drum-roll, there are earthquakes in California where there are currently reactors operating.

The first nuclear power plant in the world was in Russia and started operation in 1954

And that is why I said reactor and not power plant. The first conventional reactor started in 1944 to produce plutonium for the Manhattan Pproject.

operating in more than 30 countries under drastically different conditions. Your argument would be like saying, "Hey, look my car doesn't rust in Nevada after 10 years, so you car shouldn't rust in California!!".

That is why I clearly wrote "after the specific reactor vessel is inspected." which obviously would take into account the specific conditions of each reactor.

Please respond to what people actually wrote and not a modified version. Responding to something that wasn't written is a waste of everybody's time.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

AND there hasn't been a quake above 6.0 in California for more than 200 years.

That might be news to the people who died in those quakes that weren't above M6.0

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Guy_Jean_DailleultApr. 04, 2015 - 01:15PM JST

AND there hasn't been a quake above 6.0 in California for more than 200 years.

That might be news to the people who died in those quakes that weren't above M6.0

What is your point here?

The total death toll from earthquakes in California for the last 20 years is less than 20 people. I'm sorry for those families' losses, but Mike O'Brien trying to argue that California's earthquake situation is ANYTHING like Japan (death toll in the last 20 years from earthquakes measuring more than 20,000 people) is just RIDICULOUS.

And you're equally ridiculous for supporting him.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

What is your point here?

What is yours? You were wrong about your claim that:

AND there hasn't been a quake above 6.0 in California for more than 200 years.

There have. So, perhaps you should check your own facts before attempting to berate others.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

but Mike O'Brien trying to argue that California's earthquake situation is ANYTHING like Japan

And again please respond to what I wrote not what someone wants to believe I wrote.

Someone claimed reactors weren't built in Alaska or Hawaii because of, drum-roll, earthquakes!!! So I compared that claim to the plain fact that reactors were built in California even with, drum-roll, earthquakes!!! The situations that were at issue were Alaska, Hawaii and California, NOTHING to do with Japan's situation.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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