• Tech Tech

Authorities cautiously permit reactivation of world's largest nuclear power plant: 'We will stop when we find issues and take necessary measures'

Prior to its closure in 2012, the plant had a capacity of 8.2 gigawatts.

Prior to its closure in 2012, the plant had a capacity of 8.2 gigawatts.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Japan has greenlit the reactivation of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, and while there are lingering concerns, the move could be a big step toward the country's energy security. 

As detailed by Interesting Engineering, the Japanese Regulation Authority, or JRA, granted permission for "the world's biggest nuclear power plant" to refuel this April. 

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa facility was initially shuttered in 2012 after the 2011 Fukushima disaster — set in motion by tsunami waves after an earthquake. Attempts at restarting the program stalled in 2021 after security breaches. 

According to Asia Natural Gas & Energy Association, Japan imports around 90% of its energy, with 85% of the mix being dirty energy fuels such as oil, coal, and liquified natural gas

The 1986 Chernobyl disaster — the worst of its kind in history — may be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of nuclear power, but experts believe that it could be part of a cleaner, healthier future. Events like Chernobyl and Fukushima are serious but rare. 

"The [Japanese] government will seek the understanding and cooperation of Niigata prefecture and local communities, emphasizing 'safety-first,'" top government spokesperson Yoshimasa Hayashi said in a statement published by Reuters in December when regulators first lifted the operational ban on Kashiwazaki-Kariwa.

Nuclear power isn't a renewable source of energy like solar or wind. However, it doesn't generate any pollution that has caused our planet to overheat or release toxic particles linked to premature deaths.   

Prior to its closure in 2012, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant had a capacity of 8.2 gigawatts, with five of its seven reactors each having a capacity of 1.1 gigawatts, as reported by Interesting Engineering.  

🗣️ Would you be comfortable having a nuclear power plant in your town or city?

🔘 YES 👍

🔘 NO 👎

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

Now, per the Japan Times, the No. 7 reactor has begun receiving fuel from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, or TEPCO. Regulators will monitor the safety of the installation and cooling system over the next month-plus.  

"We will steadily put forward each step, and we will stop when we find issues and take necessary measures," TEPCO said in an April 15 statement to the Associated Press.

Join our free newsletter for weekly updates on the coolest innovations improving our lives and saving our planet.

Cool Divider