In December 2011 following the Fukushima disaster, a new rule was proposed in Japan which limited the lifespan of a nuclear reactor in operation to 40 years, which in some cases may be given extensions.
Last week, Japan’s central government accepted a request to repeal the 40 year age limit on nuclear reactors, in order that the country’s new regulatory which will be commissioned at some date in the future may lengthen the amount of operation.
More than a dozen of the country’s 50 reactors are at least three decades old, with three already operating for about 40 years.
Shoichi Kondo, DPJ leader in the lower house committee on nuclear regulations, is quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying that the regulator could well be swayed by political considerations, since it will be headed by five commissioners appointed by parliament. “The political party in power can ultimately choose the members of the commission, and thus its policy direction,” Mr. Kondo told WSJ Japan Real Time.
A Mainichi editorial also disagrees with the weakening of the nuclear limit adding, “The birth of a highly independent regulatory body is welcome, but we cannot allow the 40-year limit rule to be watered down.”
Source: Wall Street Journal
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