JAPAN ATOMIC INDUSTRIAL FORUM, INC.

for Japanese

ATOMS in JAPAN

18 March, 2015

Power Companies Select Aging NPPs to Concentrate Managerial Resources on Restarts

On March 17, at an extraordinary meeting of its board of directors, the Kansai Electric Power Co. (Kansai EP) officially decided to decommission the aging Mihama-1 and -2 Nuclear Power Plants (PWRs, 340 MWe and 500 MWe) in Fukui Prefecture, which have more than 40 years of service since their starts of operation. On the same day, the Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC) decided to decommission the Tsuruga-1 (BWR, 357 MWe) in Fukui Prefecture. On the following day, the 18th, the Chugoku Electric Power Co. decided to decommission its Shimane-1 (BWR, 460 MWe) in Shimane Prefecture, and the Kyushu Electric Power Co. did the same for its Genkai-1 (PWR, 559 MWe) in Saga Prefecture.

JAPC's Tsuruga-1

Regarding the Mihama-1 and -2, Kansai EP initially considered whether or not to continue their operations beyond 40 years. Given that their electricity outputs are relatively low, the company would be unlikely to recover the costs of work necessary for safety measures required to extend their lives, leading to its decision to decommission them. The output of JAPC’s Tsuruga-1 is also low, at 357 MWe. The Chugoku EP and Kyushu EP made their decisions based on similar reasons. On March 19, the four power companies will officially report their decisions to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

At a press meeting after a Cabinet meeting on March 17, METI Minister Yoichi Miyazawa said in regard to financial support for siting municipalities faced with the loss of grants and tax revenues as a result of the closures, that the government would decide “what can be done” after talking with the municipalities directly.

Aim at Restarts of Economically Worthwhile NPPs

Meanwhile, on March 17, with an eye toward restarts, Kansai EP filed applications with the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for examinations of its Mihama-3 (PWR, 826 MWe) and Takahama-1 and -2 (PWRs, 826 MWe each), all in Fukui Prefecture and each already operated for more or less 40 years, for compatibility with the new regulatory standards.

At the beginning of the 2000s, a time referred to as the “nuclear renaissance,” older, fully depreciated reactors were seen as profit-making assets (with the exception of certain types of reactors like the Magnox reactors in the U.K.). Lifetime extensions or power uprates of those NPPs were the global norm.

The Fukushima Daiichi Accident in 2011 changed that. In Japan, while no maximum lifetime had been established previously, it is now clearly stated that an NPP’s operating life shall be in principle 40 years. Operation beyond 40 years requires adequate safety measures, which are costly, and such NPPs of lower capacities are now considered economically less valuable.

Closed Down Reactors Announced

The government has indirectly supported the power companies in coming to their decisions on decommissioning. On March 13, METI’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) revised the accounting provisions in the Electricity Business Act, whereby, the electric power companies can now calculate decommissioning costs in installments of up to ten years, instead of one-time as previously.

These are the first decommissionings decided by power companies since those revisions. By promoting decommissioning of older NPPs, the government is emphasizing to the nation its attitude of valuing safety. It is also making clear that it will continue to use a certain number of NPPs that are profitable after safety measures are implemented. Japan’s nuclear administration is making a key turn.

Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

SNS facebooktwitter

NPPs Map

Video

Grossi on Fukushima: Marking a Decade Since the Accident

10 March, 2021
Grossi on Fukushima: Marking a Decade Since the Accident04:11

Recent News

17 September, 2021
NRA Permits Shimane-2 under New Regulatory Standards
14 September, 2021
IAEA Deputy Director General Evrard Visits Japan in Advance of Safety Review of ALPS-treated Water
1 September, 2021
Evaluation Report Issued by IAEA’s Review Mission to Fukushima Daiichi: First Visit since 2018
24 August, 2021
METI and IAEA Agree on Further Review Missions to Fukushima Daiichi
4 August, 2021
JAEA Restarts High-Temperature Engineering Test Reactor “HTTR”
2 August, 2021
Information about Fukushima Daiichi NPS Water Treatment
28 July, 2021
METI’s Committee Shows Rough Draft of Next Strategic Energy Plan
2 July, 2021
Mihama-3 Restarted After Decade-long Hiatus: First Restart in Japan of a Reactor Operating Beyond 40 Years
28 June, 2021
Mihama-3 Restarts after Decade-long Hiatus
25 June, 2021
New Canada-Japan Partnership Supports Greater Collaboration to Meet Climate Change Objectives and Net-zero Goals
24 June, 2021
METI Issues New Green Growth Strategy Through Achieving Carbon Neutrality
16 June, 2021
ANRE Sticks to “S+3E”
16 June, 2021
Japanese Cabinet Approves Environmental White Paper 2021
16 June, 2021
LDP Parliamentary Association to Reconfirm Position on Utilization of Nuclear Power
16 June, 2021
Fukui Governor Concerned about Deletion of Reference to “Maximum Utilization” of Nuclear Power
14 June, 2021
Working Group on Offshore Release of Treated Water Meets in Miyagi
14 June, 2021
NRA Considers Policy on Treating Slurry from ALPS, with Local Understanding Essential
11 June, 2021
Japanese Cabinet Approves Energy White Paper 2021
11 June, 2021
Government Omits Description of “Maximum Utilization” of Nuclear Power
9 June, 2021
MNF Hopes to Resume Fuel Production as Early as November
▲TOP