The head of Japan’s nuclear regulator said Wednesday that a rule that limits the lifespan of nuclear power plants to a maximum of 60 years should be removed from the country’s regulations.
The possible change is in line with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s goal of extending life to reduce carbon emissions and provide a stable supply of electricity. Yet public concern about the safety of nuclear facilities runs deep in Japan after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
“We can assure you that strict regulations will never be compromised,” Shinsuke Yamanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, told a news conference.
Following the nuclear crisis triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami, Japan introduced strict safety standards that in principle limit the service life of nuclear reactors to 40 years.
However, this period can be extended once by 20 years if safety upgrades are carried out and a reactor passes the prior review of the regulatory authority.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Wednesday it would determine the operational service of power plants in accordance with a regulation under its jurisdiction, and its plan has been approved by the regulator.
The NRA plans to create a system to ensure the safety of every aging nuclear power plant.