The recent decision by Shikoku Electric Power Co. to decommission the aging No. 2 reactor at its Ikata nuclear facility in Ehime Prefecture serves as yet another reminder that tightened safety regulations and market conditions in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima crisis are imposing a heavy financial burden on power companies that run nuclear power plants. Whether or not they push for reactivating the reactors idled in the wake of the 2011 accident, both the government and the power industry are urged to reassess the economics of nuclear power to determine whether they are still worth the cost. The Ikata reactor is the ninth at six nuclear power plants across Japan to be decommissioned after the 2011 disaster, not including the six at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant, which was crippled by the meltdowns at three of its six reactors in March 2011 after the plant was flooded by giant tsunami in the Great East Japan Earthquake. All of the reactors were aging and nearing the 40-year limit on their operation, and the power companies were faced with the question of whether to decommission the reactors or apply to the Nuclear Regulation Authority for approval of a one-time extension of their operation for another 20 years — which would have entailed costly additional investments to bump up their safety under the post-Fukushima rules.
Japan Times 1st April 2018 read more »