Japan Nuclear Industry: Background Brief August 2015

IAEA report

The IAEA have issued a report on Fukushima Dai-ichi, it highlights progress and makes some recommendations. It is a good read if you are considering where your organisation may be able to provide support.

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Nuclear Restarts, Life Extensions and Decommissioning


  • Kyushu Electric’s Sendai plant 1 successfully restarted last Tuesday (11th August) and began transmitting electricity on the 14th August. There are plans to restart Sendai plant 2 in mid-October.
  • The Japanese government have proposed making nuclear energy account for between 20 and 22% of Japan’s electricity mix by 2030. This number is approximate, and doesn’t represent a specific number of plants.
  • Kansai Electric’s Takahama 3 & 4 are subject to a local court decision forbidding restart, and further court proceedings will take place.

Life extensions

• Kansai have applied to extend the operational periods of Takahama 1 & 2 by 20 years. This is the first such application for a reactor of 40+ years to the new regulator.


  • It has been formally announced that the following reactors will be decommissioned: Kansai’s Mihama 1 & 2, JAPC’s Tsuruga 1, Kyushu’s Genkai 1 and Chugoku’s Shimane 1.
  • In general, utilities are directing most of their resource at the restart process, and decommissioning is not top of their priorities. However it is worth noting the following:
    • Decisions around waste storage are different for each prefecture, and some utilities cannot start the decommissioning process until this is resolved.
    • Regulations means that de-fuelling (and in some cases decontamination of the steam generation system) must be carried out first, but after that there is a view that plants may be left in care and maintenance for some time until utilities are in a suitable financial position to commence decommissioning.
    • Kansai have entered into an agreement with Areva/Westinghouse on decommissioning. Our understanding is that this is just a discussion around the system decontamination as described above – which these companies have experience in.
    • Chubu Electric, who started decommissioning two of their plants before the Dai-ichi accident, have been able to make progress as the BWR turbine halls are active areas and can be used for interim storage of waste.
  • Japan Atomic Power Company’s affiliated companies: Nuclear Services Company, Genden Business Services Company and Genden Information System Co will be merged as “Genden Engineering”.  JAPC operated Tokai-1, the first reactor in Japan to enter decommissioning many years ago, and have the most experience of decommissioning amongst the Japanese Utilities.

Progress at Fukushima Dai-ichi

  • The NDF’s strategic plan for revising the current ‘roadmap’ for Fukushima Dai-ichi has recently been published and has now been translated into English. This is a plan for how to revise the roadmap, and to inject some realism into the current high level plan. Please see the link below for the English version.


New collaborative research centre on decommissioning

  • A new research centre to help speed up the decommissioning of reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi has now started operation. The Collaborative Laboratories for Advanced Decommissioning Science (CLADS), located inside the agency’s Nuclear Science Research Institute in Tokai village, has some 80 staff members.


Events in the UK

  • NDA Supply Chain Event, 4th November (Manchester) – we are looking to recruit a Japanese delegation to this meeting.


  • UKTI Civil Nuclear Energy Showcase, 19th – 21st January 2016 (London)

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Article by the Nuclear Team, British Embassy Tokyo, August 2015.