Ikata Nuclear Power Plant in Japan (picture from 2016)
Photo: imago stock&people / AFLO / IMAGO
Many countries are currently discussing how to meet – and pay for – the energy demand.
Japan is considering running some nuclear reactors longer than the current 60-year limit, according to Bloomberg news agency.
The country is increasingly focusing on nuclear power as an energy solution.
According to a document from the Department of Commerce, the authorities are now examining a plan to exempt shut down reactors from the existing lifetime limit.
This could allow some plants to operate longer, reports Bloomberg.
Reactors are often shut down for years for inspections by the local nuclear regulatory authority or due to legal disputes.
The idea of extending the term was made public as early as August.
Japan experienced one of the worst nuclear disasters in 2011 with Fukushima.
However, according to Bloomberg, the Japanese public as well as the government support the use of nuclear energy.
The country has struggled this year with higher fossil fuel prices as a result of the Russian war in Ukraine and a weak yen.
The Japanese government has repeatedly asked the population to save electricity.
The Commerce Department's proposals also call for new next-generation nuclear reactors to be built on sites where existing reactors will be decommissioned, according to Bloomberg.
In August it was already said that the country wanted to increase the share of nuclear energy in the energy supply to more than a fifth.
After the focus had been on restarting the reactors that had been shut down after the accident, the construction of new nuclear power plants was also discussed.
Novel light water reactors
Japanese manufacturers had announced plans to develop next-generation reactors this year.
As the Japanese business newspaper »Nikkei« reported in September, the Hitachi industrial group and its US partner General Electric wanted to develop a new kind of light-water reactor.
Safety problems that contributed to the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant would be addressed in a targeted manner.
The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries group had previously announced that it also wanted to develop a new light water reactor.