Japan’s Electric Power Development Co., Ltd. (J-Power) has announced that it plans to resume the construction of its Ohma Nuclear Power Plant in Aomori prefecture, Japan. The decision has been taken “with the understanding of the local communities,” the company said.
Work on the Ohma nuclear power plant (around 40% complete), along with one other (Shimane 3, which was nearing completion) was suspended following the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011. It was only when the government announced its new energy strategy (Innovative Strategy for Energy and the Environment) in mid-September that the future options for these units became clear.
The strategy calls for reduced dependence on nuclear energy by the 2030s, based on three pillars: a limit of 40 years on nuclear power plant operation, allowing the resumption of operation of nuclear power plants once safety is ascertained, and not building any new nuclear power plants. Under the policy, it appears that nuclear power stations that have already started construction will be able to operate for the full 40-year period, which could be well into the 2050s.
J-Power said that it has obtained the necessary permits and authorisations and has been proceeding with plans for the restart of construction at Ohma. It also stressed its commitment to safety:
“We are determined to do whatever we can to establish a safe electric power plant through ensuring that we implement reinforced safety measures that take into consideration the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.”
J-Power said that it has not yet set a date for the start of Ohma’s operation, adding that it intends to review the matter in future based on construction progress.
Work started on the Ohma plant, a 1383 MW Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) design, in May 2008. Originally due to start up in 2012, J-Power amended its scheduled start date to November 2014 towards the end of 2008. The plant has been designed to (eventually) run on a full mixed oxide (MOX) fuel core.
Meanwhile, Chugoku Electric Power Company, which owns the Shimane plant said in its 2012 annual report, released 31 August, that it is “striving to have its Shimane Nuclear Power Station Unit 3 – which is currently under construction – enter operation at an early date so that we will have a more balanced power source configuration.”