Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) today approved a life extension for two aging nuclear reactors, the first such permission granted beyond the country’s 40-year limit since the 2011 Fukushima accident.

The two pressurized water reactors at Kansai Electric Power’s 3392 MW Takahama plant (pictured) in Fukui prefecture have now been cleared for an additional 20 years of operational life, with a new projected shutdown date of November 2034 for the 826 MW No 1 reactor and November 2035 for the No 2 reactor, also 826 MW. The reactors came online in 1974 and 1975, respectively.  

Japanese media reports indicate that the permission was based on Kansai Electric showing that the reactors would not be damaged by even the largest possible earthquake.

The reactors have been offline since 2011 and Kansai Electric said a restart is expected in October 2019 after a series of safety upgrades that will cost in the region of $2.57bn.

Kansai Electric has also applied for life extension permission for the 826 MW No 3 PWR reactor at its 1666 MW Mihama plant, for which the NRA is conducting a safety assessment. The Mihama plant was commissioned in 1970.

Image: Hirorinmasa (自ら撮影) [GFDL (https://gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons