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Japan’s NRA approves 20-year life extension for Takahama 3-4 nuclear reactors

The Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has approved the life extension for 20 years of Units 3 and 4 at the Takahama nuclear power plant, located in central Japan's Fukui Prefecture. The two units of 830 MW each, which are currently online and will reach their 40th anniversaries in January and June of 2025, will be thus able to keep producing power until 2045. The operator of the power plant, Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO), applied for the extension in April 2023 after carrying out inspections of the facilities.

The 3.2 GW Takahama power plant has two other reactors: Units 1 and 2 (780 MW each), which were both restarted in 2023 after being mothballed in 2011. In late 2023, KEPCO submitted an application to the NRA to continue operating first unit for another ten years, until 2034.

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 9% in 2023. Before the accident, there were 54 reactors spread over 17 power plants (49 GW in 2010 against 33 GW in 2023).

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