Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has cleared the Tokai Unit 2 reactor for a restart, but a resumption of operations is not expected until at least March 2021, when construction of new, post Fukushima Dai-ichi accident safety measures are completed.
The NRA approved of the Tokai 2 restart on July 4. Its owner, the Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC), which has not restarted any of its reactors since the nationwide moratorium was put in place, has already said it will retire Tokai 1. Meanwhile, with the cessation of operations and high expenses required for post-Fukushima upgrades, the NRA is investigating JAPC's finances to ensure it has the funds to meet the new stringent requirements and operate its plants safely.
Nuclear News International said that two other utilities that depended on the Tokai plant to serve its customers, Tokyo Electric Power Company and Tohoku Electric Power, had signaled a willingness to provide financial support for the restart of Tokai 2.
JAPC is not only up against post-Fukushima requirements, but Tokai 2 will be 40 years old in November, which puts it in a category that requires further screenings, inspections and safety checks.
The company also requires permission from local governments to restart Tokai 2.
Media reports are noting that Tokai 2 is the first Japanese reactor that suffered potentially disastrous mishaps during the Great East Japan Earthquake event to be granted regulatory approval for a restart.
The Tokai power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture was hit by a 5.4m tidal wave after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck March 11, 2011. The tsunami knocked out one of three back up generators required to keep the reactors cool.
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