Japan To Let Nuke Plants To Run After 40-year Cap

Published January 18, 2012 6:54AM (EST)

TOKYO (AP) — Japan is backtracking on plans formed only this month to shut down nuclear reactors after 40 years, saying it could allow some plants to run for up to 60 years.

Top Cabinet spokesman Osamu Fujimura said Wednesday that the government plans to stick to the 40-year cap in principle, but is considering allowing operators to apply for 20-year extensions.

Each reactor could get only one extension, and it would have to meet strict safety requirements to qualify, he said.

Concern about aging reactors has grown because three of those at the tsunami-hit Fukushima Dai-ichi plant were built starting in the late 1960s. Many more of Japan's 54 reactors will reach the 40-year mark in coming years.

Japan currently has no limit on years of operation.

By Salon Staff

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