Kishida calls for maximum use of nuclear over coming winter

15 July 2022

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has called for up to nine of the ten reactors that have already been restarted to be in operation over the winter to avoid electricity shortages. There are currently five reactors in operation in the country.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (Image: Cabinet Public Affairs Office of Japan)

"There are concerns about the supply and demand of energy this winter," Kishida said at a press conference on 14 July. "At any rate, we need to prevent such a situation. Therefore, I have told the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry that as many nuclear power plants as possible - up to nine - this winter will be put into operation to secure about 10% of Japan's total electricity consumption."

In addition, he said ten thermal power plants would be restarted to ensure stable power supplies at peak times.

"If these are realised, we will be able to secure the maximum supply capacity compared with the past three years," Kishida said. "It is the government's responsibility to take every possible measure and make every effort to ensure a stable supply of electricity, not only this winter but also in the future."

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Koichi Hagiuda Hagiuda was quoted by Reuters as saying: "We would like to ensure the operation of a maximum of nine reactors, up from the current five operating now, by revising the construction and inspection periods for some of the nuclear power plants."

"While we do not have an overall breakdown of additional supply capacity for winter at present, we will work to operate up to nine reactors ... by reviewing nuclear power plants' repairs and inspection schedules and steadily work with companies to secure additional supply capacities of about ten thermal power plants," he said.

Of the ten nuclear power plants that have been restarted, the five that are currently in operation are in Western Japan, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) noted. They are Ohi units 3 and 4, Ikata unit 3 and Sendai units 1 and 2. The other five are currently shut down either for periodic inspections or because anti-terrorism facilities had not been completed by their deadlines. Onagawa unit 2 and Shimane unit 2, which have passed examinations by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, will not be available this winter because of on-going safety measures work, JAIF said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News