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Japan’s Tohoku Electric plans to restart the Onagawa-2 nuclear reactor in September 2024

The Japanese utility Tohoku Electric Power has announced it plans to restart the 800 MW second unit of the Onagawa nuclear power plant, located in the Miyagi Prefecture of north-eastern Japan, in September 2024. In May 2023, the Sendai District Court had rejected a request from Japanese residents to keep the reactor offline.

Onagawa-2 will be the first reactor scheduled for a restart in parts of north-eastern Japan that were hit by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear accident. Onagawa-3 (800 MW) is also set up for restart in the future, while Onagawa-1 (500 MW) has been decommissioned in 2018. 

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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