14 Juin 2016
14.06.2016_No116 / News in Brief
14 Jun (NucNet): Kansai Electric Power Company (Kepco) said yesterday it had submitted a revised application to the Nuclear Regulation Authority to extend operations at its Takahama-1 and -2 nuclear units in Fukui Prefecture, southwest Japan, beyond 40 years.
Kepco said in a statement the submission follows the NRA’s approval last week of an engineering work plan for the extensions.
The revised application includes additional results of seismic safety evaluations with maximum acceleration increased from 550 centimetres per square second (gal) to 700 gal.
In April the reactors met new safety requirements introduced by the NRA following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident.
However, anti-nuclear groups filed a lawsuit with Nagoya District Court claiming extended operation of the two units could be dangerous because the reactors have already operated commercially for more than 40 years.
According to laws regulating nuclear stations in Japan, reactors are generally limited to a 40-year operational lifetime.
This can be extended by 20 years if approved by the NRA. Kepco wants to extend the licences for both Takahama-1 and -2.
The two 780-MW pressurised water reactor units have been in commercial operation since November 1974 and November 1975 respectively.
On the same site, Takahama-3 and -4 have already passed safety checks and received restart approval from local authorities. But on 9 March Otsu District Court ordered Kepco not to operate the two 830-MW units, in a legal ruling in favour of a local anti-nuclear group who alleged extended operation of the units could pose a safety danger.
The group said there were doubts about the station’s seismic standards and about the NRA’s new regulatory standards.
The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum said the court’s decision “pointed to problems in both reactors regarding such matters as design concepts, earthquake resistance, tsunami measures, and evacuation plans, based on the experience of… Fukushima-Daiichi”.
The court said: “There is fear that the personal rights of residents are being violated, and that Kepco has not sufficiently explained that safety is secured.