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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Japan: Nuclear power company eyes decommissioning of 2 reactors due to stiffer quake standards

Chubu Electric Power Co. is considering decommissioning two reactors at the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant and building a new reactor in response to tougher earthquake resistance standards, it has been learned.

The power company is reportedly considering decommissioning the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, and building a new sixth reactor that would start operating from fiscal 2018 or later. Decommissioning work on the reactors, which are currently not operating, would be completed around 2035.

Since the 2007 Chuetsu Offshore Earthquake that struck Niigata Prefecture, the government has requested tougher earthquake-resistance checks, and it appears that the power company decided that, from a cost perspective, it would be difficult to resume operations of the aging No. 1 and No. 2 reactors.

Chubu Electric Power Co. had planned to resume operations of the two reactors in fiscal 2011 after improving their earthquake resistance. However, in the 2007 Chuetsu Offshore Earthquake, shaking at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture was 3.8 times more intense than had been predicted. Accordingly, major quake resistance reinforcement became necessary for the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Hamaoka plant. Since there was a high possibility of major increases in the cost of restarting the reactors, the power company began looking at decommissioning them as an option.

If the company receives government approval of its decommissioning plans, it will spend about 10 years reducing the amount of radioactive material in the reactors and then dismantle the nuclear reactor buildings.

(Source: Mainichi Daily)

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