TOKYO — As the Japanese Nuclear Reactor strives to reach its carbon emissions reduction goal, a more than 40-year-old nuclear plant in central Japan that suffered a fatal accident has reopened after being shut down for a decade following March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Workers removed control rods inside the Mihama No. 3 reactors in Fukui prefecture, according to Kansai Electric Power Co. The reactor was turned back on Wednesday, according to Kansai Electric Power Co.
The reactor is one of Japan’s oldest, having been operational since 1976. It’s one of three Kansai Electric reactors that have been given extensions to run beyond their intended 40-year lifespans, and it’s the first of the three to reopen after the Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdowns forced more stringent safety checks and regulations at all Japanese reactors.
In 2004, a burst pipe in the reactor’s turbine building caused hot water and steam to spill, killing five employees and injuring six more.
Kansai Electric also intends to restart the two other elderly reactors that obtained operational extensions, Takahama No. 1 and No. 2, both in Fukui.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who promised in October that Japan will be carbon neutral by 2050, recently increased the 2030 target for cutting carbon emissions from 2013 levels to 46 percent, up from the previous 26 percent. Japan is one of the most carbon-intensive countries on the planet.
Around July, Japan’s current energy strategy, which was set in 2018, will be revised. The 2050 carbon emissions neutrality objective will necessitate significant adjustments, including the reactivation of more nuclear power facilities and the potential building of new reactors.