The five Nuclear Regulation Authority commissioners in Japan have approved of the Japan Atomic Power Company's plans to upgrade safety at the Tokai II single-reactor power plant in late September with a unanimous vote, which could put the company on track for a restart by 2021.
An added wrinkle in the restart scenario, however, involves the plant's age. In November this year, the plant will turn 40-years old, so the company must also apply for an 20-year license extension for the plant.
Construction of the new safety features is expected to be completed in March 2021. After that, the company will need NRA licensing, plus permission to restart from the village of Tokai, five adjacent municipalities and the prefecture of Ibaraki.
The Tokai II boiling water reactor was built in the 1970s as the second reactor at the facility that included the first commercial reactor in Japan, which was built in the 1960s. The first reactor was decommissioned in 1998 after 32 years of operations. Tokai II began operations in November 1978.
Tokai II is the first reactor that suffered damage during the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami events. The plant lost one of three back up generators when hit by the tsunami that followed the earthquake. It was also cut off from external power sources.
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