Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors are now idle but for how long

Earlier this month, the last 2 of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors were shutdown for routine inspection with no schedule for if or when they would be restarted. This marked just the second time in decades that Japan was without nuclear power. The first was in 2011, when all the country’s reactors were shutdown for inspection after the nuclear accident at Tepco’s Dai-Ichi Nuclear Plant in Fukushima.

On Friday, Tepco applied to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority for safety checks at 2 of its reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power plant in Niigata Prefecture. This brings the number of reactors seeking safety checks from the NRA to 14.

Tepco spent more than 2 months seeking local support for the move. On Thursday Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida gave the utility the go ahead to apply for the safety checks.

Economic and fiscal policy minister, Akira Amari, welcomed the news, saying,”It is a good thing for nuclear power safety, for the stable supply of electricity and for the local economy.”

Tepco hopes bringing the reactors back online will help bring the utility back into the black and show its creditors it is making progress in improving its business. The utility hopes to restart more of its reactors in the future.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant is the largest in the world. It also has a history of trouble. After a 6.8 earthquake struck the area in 2007, the plant experienced leaks and other malfunctions and was shutdown for inspection and repair. It has since undergone seismic upgrades that Tepco believes will allow the plant to withstand future earthquakes.

Excuse me while I strike my palm to my forehead. This plant is located on the coast of the Sea of Japan in a very active earthquake zone. How does Tepco choose their locations to build plants? 1) In an active earthquake zone- check 2) Located near the sea-check

I’m appalled that the government of Japan is applauding the possibility of restarting reactors at the plant. The plant might be vital to Tepco’s finances, but it is a menace to the people of Japan. With Fukushima still contaminating the environment more than 2 and a half years after the accident, you would think Japan would have learned its lesson by now.

About unredundant

I am an American expat living in Tokyo, Japan. I love interacting with people so feel free to comment or ask questions. Thank you so much for dropping by!

Posted on September 28, 2013, in Japan, Nuclear Energy and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. This is another example of terribly poor judgement on the part of Tepco and above all, putting money ahead of human lives! I certainly hope that the Japanese government cares more aout their citizens than it seems.

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