The Tokyo Electric Power Company said Thursday that it would begin to formulate a plan to decommission the Fukushima Dai-ni nuclear generating station, a four-unit power plant that is the closest power plant to the Fukushima Dai-ichi facility that suffered three reactor meltdowns in 2011.
The Fukushima Dai-ni plant is frequently referred to as .Fukushima No. 2. Although it escaped significant damage from the Great East Japan Earthquake event or the tsunami that followed, none of its reactors have been restarted after the 2011 events that have been categorically listed as one of the worst nuclear power accidents of all time.
Part of the reason Tepco has stalled on announcing its plans for Fukushima No. 2 is the anti-nuclear power attitude stirred up by the accident that was accompanied by local distrust of the company that owned and operated the plant.
Fukushima No. 2 would also have to undergo extensive safety upgrades to comply with post-2011 regulatory standards that were intensified after the accident.
The costs of decommissioning Fukushima No. 2 is expected to be around $2.5 billion, Associated Press reported. In contrast, the costs of cleanup and decommissioning at Fukushima Dai-chi is expected to cost about $200 billion.
Tepco President Tomoaki Kobayakawa said that delaying the decision on Fukushima No. 2 could “hamper” the reconstruction effort for the prefecture. “We thought prolonging the ambiguity would hamper local reconstruction,” he said.
Japan's fleet of operating nuclear power plants now stands at five, but there is the potential for 30 more plants to go back online. Prior to 2011, the country relied on 54 nuclear reactors to generate about 40 percent of its electricity. Currently, the government has stated a goal of returning to nuclear power for 20 to 22 percent of its electricity generation by the year 2030.
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