Applications lodged to restart 10 Japanese nuclear reactors

July 09, 2013

Four Japanese power companies are seeking to restart 10 nuclear reactors between them under new rules from the country’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

The Authority said it will be at least six months before even the first reactor would be fully reviewed under the new regulations that were introduced following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Hokkaido Electric, Kansai Electric, Shikoku Electric and Kyushu Electric have submitted applications to the NRA. Critics point out that all but two of the reactors (at Kansai Electric’s Ōi Nuclear Power Plant) have been offline since the disaster at Fukushima. As a result the NRA expects it to be a slow process.

Should the companies manage to clear the NRA hurdle, they will then need to get further approvals from national and regional politicians. Katsunobu Kato, deputy chief cabinet secretary, told the BBC:It is a precondition that host communities agree on the re-firing.”

In spite of much of Japan's economic stimulus package targeting renewable energy and the country tipped as one of the largest solar PV markets in the coming years, the government has prevaricated on its nuclear policy. Aware of how much the country relied on nuclear power for its electricity supplies – some 30 percent of power came from nuclear plants before the Fukushima disaster – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants the reactors to be restarted.