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Nuclear plant operator to request 20-year extension for 'boiling water reactor'

The halted Tokai No. 2 Power Station in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, is seen from a Mainichi helicopter on March 4, 2017. (Mainichi)

The Japan Atomic Power Co. (JAPC) will submit a request to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to extend the operating period of a nuclear reactor for another 20 years, it disclosed on Nov. 21.

As of next year, the company's Tokai No. 2 Power Station in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, will have been in operation for 40 years. While this will make the fourth extension request made to the NRA for reactors following three made by Kansai Electric Power Co., this marks the first time a request has been made for a "boiling water reactor" -- the same type used by Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s ill-fated Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

JAPC President Mamoru Muramatsu visited the Ibaraki Prefectural Government and the Tokai Municipal Government on Nov. 21, conveying his plan to submit the request to the NRA on Nov. 24 to Ibaraki Gov. Kazuhiko Oigawa and Tokai Mayor Osamu Yamada.

Under the Act on the Regulation of Nuclear Source Material, Nuclear Fuel Material and Reactors revised after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the operation period of reactors is set in principle to 40 years from activation, but can be extended a maximum of an additional 20 years with approval from the NRA.

The company has already completed its application for the conformity review on the new regulatory requirements for nuclear power plants needed to restart the reactor, and the NRA is close to completing the review.

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