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Japan’s KEPCO plans a 10-year life extension for the Takahama-1 nuclear reactor

Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) has submitted an application to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to continue operating the 780 MW first unit of the Takahama nuclear power plant for another ten years, until 2034. The company plans to operate the reactor beyond 50 years of operation, a threshold that will be reached in November 2024. 

Takahama-1 was restarted by KEPCO in August 2023, after being mothballed since the 2011 Fukushima accident. The reactor is the oldest operating reactor in Japan, as it was commissioned in 1974. The 3.2 GW Takahama power plant, located in central Japan's Fukui Prefecture, has three other reactors. Unit 2 (780 MW, commissioned in 1975) was restarted in September 2023 after also being mothballed. Units 3 and 4, both rated 830 MW and commissioned in 1985, are operational. 

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. 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 5.3% in 2022. Before the accident, there were 54 reactors spread over 17 power plants (49 GW in 2010 against 33 GW in 2022).

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