The Japanese utility Chugoku Electric Power has announced plans to restart the 789 MW second unit of its Shimane nuclear power plant, located near the city of Matsue in south-western Japan. Chugoku Electric plans to begin loading nuclear fuel in June 2024 and start up the reactor in August 2024 with commercial operations in September 2024.
The nuclear plant comprises a total of three units. Unit 1 (439 MW) was commissioned in 1974 and decommissioned in 2015, while the second unit, commissioned in 1989, was mothballed after the 2011 Fukushima accident. A 1,325 MW third unit is currently under construction (since 2005).
In June 2023, the Japanese parliament enacted a law to allow nuclear reactors in Japan to operate beyond their current limit of 60 years in order to help cut greenhouse gas emissions and ensure a sufficient energy supply for the country. In February 2023, the Japanese Government had approved a new policy that paves the way for the construction of new advanced nuclear reactors in the country.
Japan’s reliance on nuclear power was reduced following the Fukushima accident, dropping from 25% of the power mix in 2010 to 1% in 2015, and back to 6.7% in 2021. Before the accident, there were 54 reactors spread over 17 power plants (49 GW in 2010 against 33 GW in 2021).