Japan moving to more nuclear reactor restarts and India boosts funding for nuclear power projects

1. Progress to more nuclear reactor restarts in Japan

Shikoku Electric Power Company has submitted an amended ‘construction plan’ to the Japanese regulator for strengthening unit 3 of its Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime prefecture. The plan is the second of three applications required during the restart process.

Once its construction plan for Ikata 3 has been approved, Shikoku can request the NRA carry out final pre-operational safety inspections of the unit, which should clear the way for it to resume commercial operation.

Unit 1 of Kyushu Electric Power Company’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima prefecture was the first of Japan’s operable reactors to resume operation since September 2013 when it restarted last August. The restart of unit 2 followed in October. These were followed by unit 3 of Kansai Electric Power Company’s Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui prefecture on 29 January, while unit 4 of that plant is in the process of restarting.

Another 20 reactors are moving through the restart process, which has been prioritized to bring on the most-needed reactors first, in the localities and prefectures more supportive of restart.

2. India has allocated an extra 30 billion rupees ($442 million) to boost nuclear power generation projects over the next 15-20 years in its 2016 budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley announced on 29 February.

India has 21 nuclear power plants in operation, with six under construction, and plans for further construction of both indigenous pressurized heavy water reactors and projects with overseas partners. In April 2015 the government gave its approval in principle for new nuclear plants at ten sites in nine states