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Utility files application to extend operating period of Tokai nuclear reactor for 20 years

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) filed an application with the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) on Nov. 24 for permission to extend the operating period of a nuclear reactor for 20 years beyond the 40-year limit.

The reactor at JAPC's Tokai No. 2 Power Station in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, is the fourth nuclear reactor for which a request for such an extension has been filed with the nuclear power regulator.

Kansai Electric Power Co. earlier applied with the NRA for permission for a 20-year extension of the operating periods for its Mihama nuclear plant's No. 3 reactor and No. 1 and 2 reactors at its Takahama power station, both in Fukui Prefecture, and the nuclear watchdog has approved the extension for all three units.

Moreover, the Tokai No. 2 plant's reactor is the only boiling water reactor -- the same type as those at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima No. 1 plant -- for which a 20-year extension of the operating period is being sought.

The Tokai No. 2 atomic power station is set to reach the 40-year limit in November 2018.

Under the amended Act on the Regulation of Nuclear Source Material, Nuclear Fuel Material and Reactors, nuclear reactors must be decommissioned after being in operation for 40 years in principle. However, the operating period can be extended by up to 20 years as an exception if certain conditions are met.

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