Tohoku scraps plan for Namie-Odaka plant

28 March 2013

Long-standing plans for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Japan's Fukushima prefecture have been dropped by utility Tohoku Electric Power Company. The Namie-Odaka plant was first proposed some 45 years ago.

Tohoku originally launched plans in 1968 for a large power reactor for the town of Namie, near Minamisoma city, about 15 kilometres north of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Under the latest plan, construction of an 825 MWe boiling water reactor had been set to begin in 2017, with operation to start in 2023.

However, the utility has now stated that it has abandoned the plan to build the plant as local opposition and the condition of the local environment had put the project in "a very difficult situation."

Following the nuclear accident at the nearby Fukushima Daiichi plant - the result of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck the region on 11 March 2011 - the prefectural government said it would end its dependence on nuclear energy. Both the town council of Namie and the city council of Minamisoma have called for plans for the Namie-Odaka plant to be scrapped.

In addition, the proposed site for the plant lies within the 20 kilometre evacuation zone around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi plant, although local residents are now permitted to visit the area. Tohoku noted that it had not completed the purchase of land for the proposed plant.

"It is not appropriate to continue to promote the location as it is," the company conceded. Tohoku said that, as a result, it has excluded the planned plant from its supply plan for 2013.

Tohoku said it will book a one-time charge of some Y18 billion ($190 million) for the year ending 31 March 2014 due to the cancellation of the Namie-Odaka plant. The utility expects to report a loss of Y105 billion ($1.1 billion) for the current financial year.

Tohoku has three units at its Onagawa plant in Miyagi Prefecture which automatically shut down during the March 2011 earthquake. These have been ordered to remain off-line by the government. Meanwhile, in Aomori Prefecture, the company's Higashidori 1 has not operated since it shut down in February 2011 for periodic inspections.

In its supply plan, Tohoku said that it had yet to determine whether its plan to construct a second unit at the Higashidori site would go ahead. A 2km-long seawall is being built to protect that site.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear New