Permanent Closure of Ikata-2 Brings Total Shutdowns to One Third of Pre-Fukushima Capacity in Japan
WNISR, 27 March 2018
Only two days after Kyushu Electric’s restart announcement for Genkai-3, on 27 March 2018, Shikoku Electric Power Company announced that its Board of Directors had taken the decision for the permanent shutdown of the Ikata-2 reactor. The 538 MW Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR), located in Ehime Prefecture on the island of Shikoku, was connected to the grid on 19 August 1981 and had not operated since January 2012. Shikoku Electric considered that it would be unprofitable to resume operations at the plant with required safety retrofits of an estimated 200 billion yen (US$1.9 billion). The decision comes almost exactly two years after the utility announced the decision to decommission its Ikata-1 reactor. As with the earlier decision, it reverses a commitment of Shikoku Electric to restart the reactor. The closure leaves the utility with one operational reactor, the 846 MWe Ikata-3, which restarted 16 August 2016, nearly five years after shutdown. The reactor is currently not operating and not permitted to restart following an injunction ruling in December 2017 by the Hiroshima High Court. The court sided with plaintiffs who challenged the reactor’s vulnerability to risk of seismic and volcanic activity.
The decision to close Ikata-2, brings to nine the number of commercial reactors announced for decommissioning since 2015, in addition to the six reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, and the Monju prototype Fast Breeder Reactor. In September 2016, the Fukushima Prefectural government announced that it is planning to work with 11 municipalities to reach a collective agreement with TEPCO on assessing the safety of the Fukushima Daini reactors, the objective being the permanent shutdown of the plant. WNISR has taken them off the list of operating reactors in the first edition following 3/11. In December 2017, Kansai Electric made a decision to permanently shut down the Ohi reactor units 1&2.
The nine reactors to be decommissioned had a total installed generating capacity of 5.4 GW, equal to 13 percent of Japan’s operational nuclear capacity as of March 2011. Together with the ten Fukushima units, the total rises to 19 reactors and, at the very least, 14.2 GW or 33.2 percent of installed nuclear capacity prior to 3/11 that has been permanently removed from operations.
The Ikata-2 decision, means there are 28 reactors remaining in Long Term Outage (LTO) in Japan, since none of these have generated electricity during recent years.