After last year’s March 11 events, the Japanese government wants to impose strict limitations to the lifespan of future nuclear power plants. Environment and Nuclear Crisis Minister Goshi Hosono said that the limit would be 40 years. Only in rare cases would this time be extended, and that would be done with rigorous security checks and enhancements.
“It will be quite hard to operate nuclear reactors beyond 40 years and we will implement stringent measures on nuclear reactor operations as safety is the first priority,” he said.
The legislation that would set this limit is going to be submitted to the parliament this month, and would be the first of its kind. The draft will also set the way plant operators will have to be prepared for disaster situations similar to the one from Fukushima.
Currently, nuclear power plants can be granted an extension to their normal 30-year lifespan every 10 years, but that extension is given out very easily – they only have to prove proper maintenance of the plant.
The country’s oldest reactor, Tsuruga no.1, which started working as early as 1970, is planned to be decommisioned in 2016.