Japan nuclear capacity to fall as Chubu scraps units

TOKYO, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Japan’s nuclear power generation capacity will fall by 1,380 megawatts, or 2.8 percent, to 47,935 megawatts from Friday, a government official said, reflecting a utility’s move to scrap two nuclear reactors and replace them with a new one.

Chubu Electric Power Co 9502.T, Japan's third-biggest utility, said in December it would decommission its 540-megawatt No.1 and 840-megawatt No.2 generators at its sole Hamaoka nuclear plant, and build a new No.6 reactor to replace them. [ID:nT303675]

The move reduced the number of nuclear power generators for commercial use in Japan, which has the world’s third-biggest nuclear generation capacity after the United States and France, to 53 from 55.

Chubu said it made little economic sense to spend considerable time and money to improve the two reactors built over 30 years ago, which have been shut for years due to delays in upgrading their earthquake-resistance and other repair work.

Chubu’s nuclear plant capacity will decrease to 3,504 megawatts from 4,884 megawatts as of Jan. 30, Chubu said.

The capacity decrease will not have an immediate impact on Chubu’s nuclear power output, as the No.1 and No.2 Hamaoka units had already been shut down and had been scheduled to remain offline until March 2011 under the firm’s original plan. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Chris Gallagher)