News On Japan

Oldest Takahama nuclear reactor put back online

Jul 29 (NHK) - Japan's oldest nuclear power reactor went back online on Friday for the first time in 12 and half years.

Officials of Kansai Electric Power Company restarted the No. 1 reactor of the Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture at 3 p.m. by removing control rods.

The reactor had been offline since January 2011, when it ceased operation for a regular inspection. In 2016, it cleared screening under new government regulations put in place after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident.

The restart comes after the operator completed facilities for anti-terrorism measures and the government finished an inspection.

The No. 1 unit, which first started operation in 1974, is the oldest among Japan's remaining operable nuclear reactors.

The operational life span of nuclear reactors in the country has been limited to 40 years in principle. But a reactor can have its operational life extended to a maximum of 60 years, if it passes a screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The No. 1 unit became the second reactor that is over 40 years old to be put back online in Japan since the 2011 accident. The first is the Mihama nuclear power plant's No. 3 reactor which is also located in Fukui Prefecture.

The operator says, if everything goes well, the Takahama nuclear power plant's No.1 reactor will achieve a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction by early Saturday. The company hopes to begin generating and sending electricity as early as next Wednesday.

Source: Kyodo

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