The reactivation of Kansai Electric Power Company’s Mihama nuclear power plant number 3 reactor (Mihama, Fukui prefecture) and Takahama nuclear power plant number 1 reactor (Takahama, Fukui prefecture) will be delayed until 2021 or later, it was learned. The reactors are expected to be reactivated after the fall of 2020. Kansai Electric submitted to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) an application to change the dates for inspections necessary to resume operations. Inspections for the Mihama number 3 reactor should be completed around February 2021, and those for the Takahama number 1 reactor around April 2021.
Kansai Electric will separately obtain Fukui prefecture’s approval before reactivation. The dates of the reactivation are still unknown. Following the bribery scandal involving Kansai Electric that surfaced in the fall of 2019, many people in Fukui think that recovering the trust of the local people should be the priority.
The cost of nuclear power is relatively low compared with other forms of power production. A cost reduction of 4 billion yen per month per reactor is expected when the Mihama plant or Takahama power plant is in operation. A total of at least 32 billion yen in cost reductions was lost by postponing the reactivation of the reactors. The inspections take place in five steps and comprise a comprehensive survey of the reactor, including the furnace and the structure. The NRA decided that more time is needed to inspect the Mihama number 3 reactor and Takahama number 1 reactor because they both have been suspended for a long time. A nuclear power plant is in operation for forty years in principle, with a possible extension of a maximum twenty years. The Takahama number 1 and Mihama number 3 reactors received approval for the extension of their operations in 2016. Construction work for safety measures toward reactivation will be completed in September 2020.