Two nuclear reactors in Japan of the Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) are expected to be restarted near the city of Takahama. An agreement has been reached between the mayor of the city and the central government. Only 10 years after the Fukushima disaster, the Japanese government seems determined to restart the country’s nuclear activity. But for some local elected officials, the question of the storage of future radioactive waste is still holding back their decisions.
Japan’s nuclear reactors once again favored by the government
Authorization for Takahama 1 and 2 reactors
The two nuclear reactors in Japan, Takahama 1 and 2, are expected to return to service in March and May respectively. These two reactors are part of a set of 4 reactors managed by KEPCO.
Despite their more than 40 years, the Japanese nuclear regulatory authority had already allowed the extension of their life for another 20 years in 2016. Last November, the Takahama City Council also authorized their return to service.
Financial guarantees from the government
For his part, the mayor of Takahama expected financial guarantees from the government. Since this Friday, January 29, it is done. The central government took the opportunity to reiterate its commitment to revitalize local action.
At the same time, the project must also be approved by the governor of Fukui Prefecture. However, the latter is also asking for guarantees, especially from KEPCO.
The problem of medium-term storage of future waste
Fukui governor doesn’t want the waste
The governor does not want the storage of radioactive waste on the soil of his prefecture. At present, no other Japanese locality is ready to host a storage facility.
Last December, the federation of electric utilities applied for a storage facility near Mutsu City (Aomori Prefecture). But the mayor was against it.
What about the Recyclable-Fuel Storage Center in Mutsu?
However, the city of Mutsu already hosts a storage center. This Recyclable-Fuel Storage Center is owned by Tokyo ElectricPower and Japan Atomic Power. KEPCO is reportedly in discussions to store its waste in this facility.
Without the approval of the governor of Fukui, the project to restart the Takahama 1 and 2 reactors cannot be completed. However, KEPCO is waiting for their return to service before starting the commissioning of its Takahama 3 reactor.
In sum, despite local reluctance, the central government seems determined to revive nuclear activity on Japanese soil. In parallel, it is also massively developing its solar energy industry.