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LDP parliamentary league calls for reviewing 40 year lifespan of nuclear reactors

  • 2015-07-08 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: July 8, 2015 – p. 4)

 

 A Liberal Democratic Party parliamentary league calls for reviewing a 40-year lifespan of nuclear reactors and not decommissioning reactors immediately after they hit the 40-year threshold if they are under scrutiny by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

 

 The parliamentary league for the promotion of stable supply of electricity, led by LDP Acting Secretary-General Hiroyuki Hosoda, on July 7 compiled a set of proposals demanding the government take a flexible approach in dealing with the decommissioning of nuclear reactors.

 

 The act on nuclear reactor regulation, which was revised following a meltdown accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, stipulates that nuclear reactors in principle cannot be operational after they turn 40 years old. Though a special exemption is made to extend the lifespan to up to 60 years, this requires safety confirmation approval from the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

 

 There are calls from within the government and the ruling parties for reviewing the 40-year rule, as the rigid application of the rule may cause nuclear reactors under inspection to be decommissioned as soon as they reach 40 years of operation.

 

 The proposals argue that reactors should not be immediately decommissioned even though active faults are found beneath them. They recommend that [the Nuclear Regulation Authority] study whether nuclear reactors can sustain the largest possible tremor that can be predicted or remain unaffected by fault slips from an engineering perspective. If they do, they say, reactors should be kept operational at their current locations.

 

 In September, the Nuclear Regulation Authority will celebrate the third anniversary of its launch. Within the LDP, an in-house task force on nuclear regulations, led by Masayoshi Yoshino, is drawing a report of its own proposals, with an eye on submitting it to the government within the month.

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