THE Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, the world’s largest, is a hub of activity. Its 6,619 employees dutifully clock on and off every day. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), its owner, spent ¥606 billion ($5.8 billion) last year maintaining it and its other nuclear plants. Yet Kashiwazaki-Kariwa has not generated a single watt of electricity since 2011, when it was shut down along with the rest of Japan’s nuclear reactors after the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear accident. TEPCO has applied to Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) to restart two of the plant’s seven reactors. But even if the regulators approve the request, politics may stymie it. On October 16th voters in Niigata, the prefecture in which Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is located, will elect a new governor. The two leading candidates have not been as vocally opposed to the restart as Hirohiko Izumida, the outgoing governor, but public opinion is strongly against. Before the disaster, Japan had 54 working reactors. The six at Fukushima Dai-Ichi (pictured) are to be decommissioned. Of the remaining 48, the NRA has received applications to restart 26. It has approved only eight of them so far, and just two reactors are currently operating (see map). A third is closed for maintenance. Local officials—who have some say over restarts—adverse court rulings and other glitches have held up the others. Meanwhile, an anti-nuclear governor is suing to get one of the two working reactors shut down again.
Economist 15th Oct 2016 read more »
The head of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has confirmed the importance of fast breeder reactor (FBR) development in Japan at a meeting of public and private sector representatives. Japanese governmental policy on FBRs – including the future of the Monju prototype fast breeder reactor – is to be finalized by the end of the year.
World Nuclear News 13th Oct 2016 read more »