On June 29, the Mihama-3 Nuclear Power Plant (PWR, 826MW) of the Kansai Electric Power Co. (Kansai EP) began to again generate power after a hiatus of slightly more than 10 years.
Mihama-3 originally began commercial operation in December 1976. In May 2011, the unit entered a periodic inspection, when it underwent examinations by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for compatibility with the new regulatory standards and for permission to extend its operating lifetime to up to 60 years.
The unit was restarted on June 23, 2021, becoming the first in Japan to be restarted after operating for more than 40 years. A period of adjustment operations is now underway before the final stage of the periodic inspection, i.e., connection to the grid. After a final inspection by the NRA, Mihama-3 is expected to resume commercial service on July 27.
In addition to work on safety measures based on the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi, Kansai EP carried out other kinds of w...more
At 10:00 a.m. on June 23, the Kansai Electric Power Co. (Kansai EP) restarted its Mihama-3 Nuclear Power Plant (PWR, 826MW). The unit had entered a periodic inspection in May 2011, slightly more than decade ago.
In the wake of the giant earthquake of March 2011 (officially named the Great East Japan Earthquake), the Japanese government passed legislation limiting NPPs to 40 years of operation in principle. Mihama-3 will be the first unit to be restarted since then that had served for more than 40 years. Its restart will be the first step toward the long-term utilization of NPPs whose safety has been confirmed.
During the decade-long operational hiatus of the reactor, the central control room at Mihama-3 was digitalized as part of work to enhance safety measures. Persons on duty for the restart have trained on a simulator for about two years.
Operation of Mihama-3 during its restart went smoothly this time. The unit went critical before dawn on June 24, achieving sustained fission, and begin ...more
Canadian Nuclear Association and Japan Atomic Industrial Forum sign Memorandum of Understanding
Ottawa/Tokyo (June 24, 2021) - The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) and the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to carry out cooperative nuclear power and climate change activities.
“We are happy to formalize this important partnership with JAIF,” said John Gorman, President and CEO of the CNA. “This presents both of our organizations with a great opportunity for collaborating and exchanging information to meet our common goals that include addressing the climate crisis. Nuclear technologies will play an important role here and partnerships like these align our collective efforts.”
”We are pleased with this fantastic opportunity to officially start a new partnership with the CNA through the MOU signing”, said Shiro Arai...more
On June 18, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) issued a new version of the Green Growth Strategy through achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050. In December 2020, the original strategy had been formulated in cooperation with relevant ministries and agencies as an industrial policy aimed at a “virtuous cycle of economy and the environment.”
The new strategy, in addition to the benefits of decarbonization, looks at measures and responses benefiting people’s lives. It is supported by an Action Plan for the Growth Strategy, approved at a cabinet meeting held the same day.
The new Green Growth Strategy restated the action plans that had appeared earlier for 14 key areas and industries, as follows:
Offshore wind power, solar power, geothermal power
Hydrogen, fuel ammonia
Next-generation thermal energy
Automobiles and storage batteries
Semiconductors and information technology
Physical distribution, flows of people, and civil engineering infrastructure
Foods, agriculture, forestry and fisheries
Carbon recycling, materials
Housing, structures, and next-ge...more
Heated arguments over the core of Japan’s energy policy continue between a task force thoroughly examining regulations on renewable energies, etc., headed by Taro Kono, MInister for Administrative Reform and Regulatory Reform, on one side, and the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE), under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), on the other.
The task force insists that ANRE clearly state “the principle of placing top priority on renewable energies” in the next Strategic Energy Plan. ANRE, in turn, insists that the principle of energy policy is “S+3E” (the conventional three E’s of energy security, economic efficiency and environmental protection, plus safety), by which safety, supply stability, environmental compatibility and economic efficiency are pursued simultaneously.
The task force has been successful in getting five ministries and the Cabinet Secretariat to present their views on directions for measures to increase the use of renewable energies. It has asked ANRE to include the following three points on renewable energies in the Strategic Energy Plan:
Placing top priority on renewable energies.
Reforming the ...more
On June 8, the Cabinet approved the “Annual Report on the Environment, the Sound Material-Cycle Society and Biodiversity in Japan,” which is conventionally called the Environmental White Paper 2021.
The white paper addresses three shifts implemented in measures by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment (MOE) in 2020, in accordance with its theme of redesigning the economy and society toward carbon neutrality by 2050. The three shifts are to a low-carbon society, to environmental economics, and to a decentralized society.
At a press conference after the Cabinet meeting the same day, MOE Minister Shinjiro Koizumi said, “Younger people in particular, who cannot escape a time when climate change will become increasingly serious, are encouraged to read the white paper.” He said he looked to hearing from such people, particularly, their views and even proposals on the policy challenges ahead.
The white paper recognizes March 2021—the tenth anniversary of the giant earthquake of March 11,...more
On June 14, Japan’s Parliamentary Association for the Promotion of Stable Supplies of Electricity met to hear from the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE), under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), on the state of deliberations on the next Strategic Energy Plan. The group is voluntarily formed by members of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and chaired by Hiroyuki Hosoda（former Chief Cabinet Secretary).
In late April, the association had proposed to the government that it include the maximum utilization of nuclear power in the next Strategic Energy Plan. Since then, however, it omitted the expression “maximum utilization,” and a political battle has been shaping up within the government.
At the scheduled meeting on April 14, the association heard about various developments since it first submitted its proposal earlier the same month, and reiterated its position on the importance of nuclear power.
In its proposal, the association asked for a revision to the government’s policy in the current Strategic Energy Plan of “decreasing dependency on nuclear power to the maximum extent possible,” and calls for the showing of a medium-to long-range nuclear vision.
Among other items, the pro...more
Governor Tatsuji Sugimoto of Fukui Prefecture has stated his concern about the removal of wording on the “maximum utilization” of nuclear power from proposed revisions to the Japanese government’s Green Strategy.
When he earlier agreed to the operation beyond 40 years of the Mihama-3 NPP (PWR, 826MW) and others, Hiroshi Kajiyama, head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), had explained to him the need for the sustainable utilization of nuclear power. The reactors are owned and operated by the Kansai Electric Power Co. (Kansai EP).
Now, having mentioned his great surprise about the change, Governor Sugimoto has asked that Japan “draw a clear picture of its energy future” in the next Strategic Energy Plan. On June 9, the governor had an online conversation with METI State Minister Kiyoshi Ejima, conveying to him the prefecture’s thoughts.
At the end of April, METI Minister Kajiyama had explained the need for the sustainable use of nuclear power and R&D on next-generation re...more
On June 6, the second meeting was held of a working group of the Inter-Ministerial Council that was set up to steadily implement the government’s basic policy on the disposal of treated water from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants of the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).
It took place at the Miyagi Prefectural Office in Sendai, following the first meeting of the working group on May 31 in Fukushima Prefecture. The occasion was co-hosted by a joint conference established by Miyagi Prefecture on dealing with treated water.
At the meeting, representatives from prefectural industrial organizations and municipalities—who also belong to the joint conference—expressed their opinions and views, along with Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai, who chaired the conference. State Minister Kiyoshi Ejima of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), who heads the working group, then responded, along with others.
In his opening remarks, Miyagi Governor Murai said, “Although activities have been completed in many of the affected areas as far as physical matters ...more
At a regular review meeting held on June 7, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) discussed the policy for treating slurry generated by the Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs).
At 31 of the approximately 3,000 high integrity containers (HICs) for storage of slurry, integrated absorbed doses of radiation exceed the upper limit of 5,000kGy, and the number is expected to rise to 56 such HICs in another two years or so. The Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) plans to begin transferring slurry from the 31 HICs to different ones in August.
Because prompt transfer is now required, the Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) determined that procedures for changing the implementation plan would not be required. Around January 2023, TEPCO will start operating a stabilization treatment facility for dewatering and solidifying the slurry.
On June 7, the Atomic Energy Society of Japan (AESJ) described the release of Fukushima Daiichi’s ALPS-treated water into...more