Over 40-year-old nuclear reactor in central Japan that suffered a fatal accident has resumed operations after being taken offline for a decade after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011

Kansai Electric Power Co. said Mihama’s No.3 Reactor in Fukui Prefecture came back online on Wednesday after workers removed the control rods inside the reactor.

The reactor, which began operating in 1976, is one of the oldest in Japan. It is one of three operated by Kansai Electric that have been granted extensions to operate beyond their initial 40-year lifespan, and is the first of three to resume operations since the nuclear power plant mergers of Fukushima have resulted in extensive safety checks and stricter standards at all Japanese reactors.

Some residents of Fukui and neighboring areas filed for an injunction with the Osaka District Court on Monday over concerns about the aging of the Mihama No.3 reactor.

The reactor crashed in 2004 in which hot water and steam leaked from a ruptured pipe in its turbine building, killing five workers and injuring six others.

Kansai Electric also plans to restart the other two aging reactors – Takahama No.1 and No.2, also in Fukui – which have received operating extensions.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who pledged last October that Japan would achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, recently raised the 2030 target to reduce carbon emissions from 2013 levels to 46% from 26 % previous. Japan is one of the world’s main carbon emitters.

A review of Japan’s current energy plan, set for 2018, is expected around July. The 2050 carbon neutrality goal will require drastic changes and likely quick calls for the restart of more nuclear power plants and the eventual construction of new reactors.



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