Faced by increased oil and gas costs needed to run conventional power plants, Japan’s nuclear power plant owners have fought to have their reactors considered for restarting.
All but two of the country’s reactors were closed over two years ago following the tsunami which caused widespread damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi Plant. The incident had a huge impact on Japan’s energy production, as nuclear power supplied Japan with a third of its electricity needs.
But now four of the country’s utility companies have applied for safety inspections of 10 idle plants; a clear sign that the country is attempting a return to atomic energy.
According to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, the Hokkaido Electric Power Company, Kansai Electric Power, Shikoku Electric Power and Kyushu Electric Power have all applied to reopen a total of 10 reactors, and reactors that pass these stricter rules may be allowed to restart early next year.
New rules for the first time require plants to guard against radiation leaks in the case of severe accidents, install emergency command centres and enact anti-terrorist measures. Operators are required to upgrade protection for tsunamis and earthquakes, as well as tornadoes and aviation accidents.
Applications for more reactors are expected later this week.