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Japan’s Kepco restarts Unit 2 of the Takahama nuclear power plant

The Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power (Kepco) has restarted the 780 MW second unit of the Takahama nuclear power plant after 12 years. The reactor, commissioned in 1975, had been shut since the Fukushima accident of 2011.

The 3.2 GW Takahama power plant, located in central Japan's Fukui Prefecture, has three other reactors. Unit 1 (780 MW) was restarted in August 2023. Commissioned in 1974, it is currently the oldest operating reactor in Japan. Units 3 and 4, both rated 830 MW and commissioned in 1985, are currently 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. 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 (5.3% in 2022).

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