Last fall, Kansai EP carried out special inspections of both units, as those are required in order to apply to operate them for 20 additional years. Comparisons and evaluations of data sampled at the 35th year of operation and thereafter revealed no deterioration in any of the reactor vessels, concrete structures, and so forth.

Since the shutdown after the March 2011 earthquake, five of Kansai EP’s nuclear power plants (NPPs)—Takahama-3 and -4, Mihama-3, and Ohi-3 and -4—have been restarted, and all five were in service throughout the month of April. Takahama-1 and -2, which are to join Mihama-3 in being operated beyond 40 years, are expected to resume power generation in June and July, respectively. Thus, this summer may see operation of all seven of the company’s active NPPs.

Currently eight domestic NPPs have applied or been approved for operation beyond 40 years. Kansai EP’s Takahama-1 and -2 and Mihama-3, along with the Tokai-2 of the Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC), have already obtained permission to make changes to their reactor installations (basic design approval). Examinations to the same effect are now underway for the Sendai-1 and -2 units of the Kyushu Electric Power Co., as well as for Takahama-3 and -4. Each unit is seeking to operate for 60 years.

On April 26, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) announced that it had received orders for six PWR steam generators to be used at Takahama-3 and -4. All six units will be replacements for the existing three at each NPP.