The head of Japan’s nuclear regulator said Wednesday a rule that limits the operating life of nuclear power plants to a maximum of 60 years is expected to be removed from the country’s regulations.
The possible change is in line with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s goal of extending the lifespan to reduce carbon emissions and provide a stable electricity supply. Still, public concern over the safety of nuclear facilities is deep-seated in Japan following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
“We can assure you that strict regulations will never be compromised,” Shinsuke Yamanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said at a press conference.
Following the nuclear crisis triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami, Japan introduced stringent safety standards limiting nuclear reactors’ service period to 40 years in principle.
However, that period can be extended once by 20 years if safety upgrades are made and a reactor passes the regulation authority’s screening.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Wednesday it would determine the plants’ operational service per a regulation under its jurisdiction, and its plan was approved by the regulatory body.
The NRA plans to create a system to ensure each aging nuclear power plant’s safety.