Utility plans to scrap reactor at Onagawa plant

Utility plans to scrap reactor at Onagawa plant

Tohoku Electric Power Company has told Miyagi Prefecture that it is going to decommission an aging reactor at its Onagawa nuclear power plant.

The 3 reactors at the plant in northeastern Japan have been offline since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The utility's president, Hiroya Harada, conveyed its decision to Miyagi Governor Yoshihiro Murai on Thursday.

Harada explained that additional safety steps would create technical difficulties as the No.1 reactor is more than 30 years old. The measures are required under government regulations that were introduced after the 2011 disaster.

Murai asked Tohoku Electric Power to put top priority on safety in scrapping the reactor as the work is expected to take a long time. The governor also asked the utility to properly disclose information and maintain stable power supplies.

The utility hopes to put the 2 other reactors back into operation. The No.2 reactor is being checked by the nuclear regulator, and the firm is preparing to apply for an inspection of the No.3 reactor.

Utilities have decided to decommission 10 reactors at 7 plants, including Onagawa, since the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. They cite the huge cost of additional safety measures. These figures do not include the all 6 reactors at Fukushima Daiichi.