26 March 2016

Permanent Closure of Japanese Reactor Ikata‑1

Permanent Closure of Japanese Reactor Ikata-1

On 25 March 2016, the Shikoku Electric Power Company took the decision to permanently shut down the Ikata-1 nuclear reactor. Since April 2015, six reactors in Japan have now been announced for retirement. The 566 MW unit, which began operation in 1977, had been shut down since September 2011. The utility has been assessing the financial implications of upgrading the reactor including the installation of fireproofing power cabling, with total costs estimated at approximately 200 billion yen ($1.77 billion). The conclusion reached was that with a relatively small output capacity and up to four years required to complete the work, the remaining operational life of the reactor would not generate sufficient income to justify the investment. The decision reverses Shikoku’s earlier position of planning for the restart of Ikata-1.

The closure of Ikata further highlights the challenges for Japanese nuclear utilities to attain the Government target of supplying 20-22 percent of the nations electricity by 2030.

The decision on Ikata-1 leaves 36 reactors (including the Monju fast breeder reactor that has been shut down since 1995) in Japan in Long Term Outage (LTO), since none of these have generated electricity during 2014-2016. WNISR considers that the 10 Fukushima units are shut down and will never restart. The Sendai-1 and -2 reactors remain the only operating nuclear plants in Japan, following the closure of Takahama-3 and -4 due to a court injunction issued by the Otsu district court in Shiga prefecture on 9 March 2016.