Japan plans to extend the life of its nuclear power plants

Struggling with high fuel prices due to the Russia-Ukraine war and the depreciation of the Japanese yen, Japan is again looking towards nuclear energy after the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima in 2011. The country aims to operate the power plants, which have completed the 60-year operating period, for a longer period, as well as to develop and build new technology power plants.

Japan’s Nuclear Power

While Japan is turning to nuclear power due to the tightness in its energy supply, it is considering operating some of its nuclear power plants above the current 60-year limit. According to the documents published by the Ministry of Commerce of Japan, nuclear power plants that exceed the 60-year limit are expected to work extra for the specified period by calculating the periods in which they do not work during their lifetime.

It is stated that production at the power plants can be stopped for years for legal reasons or for the necessary investigations to be made.

After the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident caused by the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Japan began enforcing strict safety standards that limit the operating time of nuclear power plants to 40 years. On the other hand, as a result of improvements to be made in security measures, the operating period of the power plants, which passed the controls of the regulators, was extended for another 20 years.

Energy consumption warning from the Japanese government

The country, which is dependent on foreign energy, is struggling with high fossil fuel prices due to the Russia-Ukraine war and the weakness of the yen. The Japanese government warns the public to reduce their energy consumption. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced in August that the government is aiming to build new nuclear power plants and restart production at seven plants where production has been halted.

Japan’s Ministry of Commerce is also proposing to build new power plants in locations where nuclear power plants are located where production will be halted due to the end of life.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is reportedly developing a new technology nuclear power plant together with four other Japanese energy manufacturers, while Hitachi and General Electric are also reportedly developing a new nuclear power plant model.

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