Japan allows nuclear plants to operate beyond 60 years

In an effort to revitalize the industry in order to meet energy difficulties and climate targets, Japan passed a law on Wednesday allowing nuclear reactors to continue operating for an additional 60 years.

A spokesman for the parliament told AFP that the measure aims to “establish an electricity supply system that will achieve a carbon-free society.”

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The age limit is still 60 under the current regulations, although there are some exceptions for reactors that had to halt operations due to “unforeseeable” circumstances.

These could take the form of alterations to safety regulations or court-issued temporary injunctions.

The revised regulations let operators to exclude shutdown times from the total years of operation.

The law also contains provisions aimed at strengthening safety checks at aging reactors, and operators are required to obtain the approval of Japan’s nuclear safety agency before requesting the exemption.

The government wants to “ensure a stable supply of electricity while promoting the use of carbon-free electricity resources,” Japan’s ministry of economy, trade and industry said in a statement.

The action is being taken as the Japanese government works to revive the nuclear industry, which was shut down following the devastating tsunami-caused Fukushima accident in 2011.

Even though the majority of Japan’s nuclear reactors are still not in operation, the global energy crisis has reignited the conversation over the technology, and surveys indicate that public opinion is beginning to change.

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