Japan Atomic Power Co (Japco) announced that it will postpone the shutdown of its Tsuruga 1 nuclear power reactor beyond the originally scheduled 2010 due to delays in the construction of two new units at the site.
|Tsuruga 1 (Image: Japco)
Unit 1 at the Tsuruga plant - Japan's oldest commercial reactor - was due to shut in 2010, around the time when operations at unit 3 and 4 were originally due to begin.
However, at the end of 2006, Japco announced that construction of the Tsuruga 3 and 4 reactors had been delayed by two years due a revision in construction regulations following the government's new earthquake resistance guidelines. Construction of the two 1538 MWe advanced pressurized water reactors (APWRs) will now begin in October 2010, with commercial operation of unit 3 set to start in March 2016 and unit 4 in March 2017.
Yukinori Ichida, president of Japco, reportedly told the deputy governor of Fukui Prefecture, Nobuaki Asahi, that a delay in the construction of Tsuruga 3 and 4 and mounting public sentiment over global warming were the main causes of the decision to continue operation of Tsuruga 1.
According to a Kyodo
report, Asahi said that Japco would have to ensure the safety of the reactor and gain public support before postponing the unit's shut down.
Japco said that it has submitted an assessment report with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Meti) that shows the 357 MWe boiling water reactor (BWR), which began operating in March 1970, can be safely operated beyond 2010. The company said it would decide later when the unit would be shut down.
Unit 2 at the Tsuruga plant is an 1115 MWe PWR that began operating in February 1987.