Japan business group urges government to extend nuclear plant lifespans

It proposed that maintenance periods should not be included in the plants' operational terms.

Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) is calling on the government to extend the maximum service lifespan for nuclear reactors beyond the current 60 years as Japan faces an electricity crisis, according to a report by news agency The Asahi Shimbun.

In its proposal titled “Reconstructing the electricity system that supports Japan,” Keidanren noted that periods when nuclear reactors are shut down for maintenance or other reasons should be excluded from their operational terms. Nuclear power plants are allowed to have an operating life of 40 years, but a one-time extension of 20 years may be granted in exceptional cases under a law enacted after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

This is said to be the first time Keidanren issued a policy recommendation pertaining to nuclear energy since late 2017.

The group also renewed a call for resuming operations at nuclear reactors and building new ones, whilst also urging the government to improve the network of energy transmission and distribution to increase the ratio of renewable energy.

Since the 2011 nuclear disaster, many nuclear reactors remain shut down due to fierce local opposition to restarts.

However, nuclear watchdog Nuclear Regulation Authority said it has no plans to consider extending the operational spans of nuclear reactors.

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