The operator of the Oma nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan, has decided to postpone by about two years the start of construction to ensure safety required by new regulations.
The facility in Oma Town would be the world's first commercial nuclear plant to operate solely on the plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel known as MOX.
The operator, Tokyo-based Electric Power Development, or J-Power, began building the plant in 2008, but had to suspend work on its main parts following the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority is now conducting safety screening of the plant based on the new regulations.
On Friday, J-Power officials visited the town office and the Aomori prefectural office.
At the prefectural office, J-Power Vice President Hagiwara Osamu said the decision was made because the screening of the plant, including its anti-quake measures, is taking time.
Hagiwara said his company initially planned to start the safety-related construction work late this year, but will put it off until the latter half of 2024.
He also said the start of the plant's operation will be postponed to fiscal 2030 from the original target of around fiscal 2028.
This is the fifth time that the company has postponed safety-related construction.
After hearing the explanation, Aomori Vice Governor Kashiwagi Tsukasa said he wants the firm to do all it can to get understanding from the people of the prefecture and relevant municipalities.