February 13, 2019 / 9:21 AM / 5 months ago

Japan's Kyushu Electric to scrap aging nuclear reactor at Genkai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power Co Inc said on Wednesday it will decommission an aging reactor at its Genkai nuclear plant as the country’s power industry struggles to meet new nuclear safety standards set after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

This will bring the number of reactors being scrapped to 17 since the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant nearly eight years ago.

The move comes as Japan’s return to nuclear power is slowly gathering pace, although the industry still faces public opposition, court challenges and unfavorable economics.

Kyushu Electric will scrap the No.2 reactor at the Genkai plant, about 930 km (580 miles) west of Tokyo.

The reactor, which has been shut since 2011, has a capacity of 559 megawatts and began operations in 1981, meaning it was approaching the end of its standard operating life of 40 years, barring extensions.

The decision took into account factors including a shortage of the space to build facilities to meet new safety standards, the capacity size and the remaining operation period, the company said in a statement.

Many of Japan’s reactors remain shut, with only nine operating, while they undergo relicensing to meet new standards set after the Fukushima crisis highlighted shortcomings in regulation.

Reporting by Yuka Obayashi; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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