The No. 3 reactor of Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama nuclear power station (Mihama Town, Fukui Prefecture) will suspend operations on Oct. 23 due to the delayed construction of anti-terrorism facilities. The reactor restarted operations in June. It is the first power station in operation over 40 years. It will resume operations after the facilities are completed in Oct. 2022.
After the nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi power station, the government set the rule of limiting the period of reactor operations to 40 years in principle with an extension up to 60 years. Kansai Electric gave notification two years ago that the Mihama No. 3 reactor would not have anti-terrorism facilities in place by the deadline of Oct. 25, 2021. In August, it announced that the completion of the facilities will be delayed for a year or so. Though it knew it had to suspend operations only four months after the restart, it chose to build a track record in being the first to operate a reactor that is more than 40 years old.
Kansai Electric Power President Morimoto Takashi has demonstrated eagerness to operate the reactor beyond 60 years. “The situation surrounding nuclear power generation differs in each case, and [the government] should not limit the operation period across the board and should make scientific evaluations,” he said. The operation of a reactor that is over 40 years old just kicked off, and the public is scrutinizing the Mihama station more than other nuclear power stations. It is critical that utilities make steady efforts to run reactors safely. (Abridged)