Japan restarts eighth nuclear reactor

The Eighth Japanese nuclear reactor is resuming power generation.

Unit 4 of the Ohi nuclear power plant in Japan’s Fukui Prefecture began supplying electricity to the grid again on 11 May, Kansai Electric Power Company has announced. The reactor is expected to re-enter commercial operation early next month.

Ohi 4 is the eighth of Japan’s 39 operable reactors which have so far cleared inspections confirming they meet the new regulatory safety standards and have resumed operation. The others are: Kyushu’s Sendai units 1 and 2 and Genkai unit 3; Shikoku’s Ikata unit 3; and Kansai’s Takahama units 3 and 4. Another 17 reactors have applied to restart.

In the five years from 2015 to 2019, the world should see 55 new reactors start in 12 countries, two of those countries hosting their first nuclear power plant. With a combined capacity of 55 GWe this new nuclear generation will avoid the emission of more than 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, compared to coal. It is equivalent to adding nearly 15% to global nuclear capacity.

Nuclear energy could supplies 25% of global electricity demand by 2050 as part of a low-carbon generation mix but this would require 1000 GW of new nuclear build.