Japanese power companies are expected to announce the decommissioning of five ageing nuclear reactors next week, local media reported Thursday.

nuclearFour operators – Kansai Electric Power Co, Japan Atomic Power Co, Chugoku Electric Power Co and Kyushu Electric Power Co – will decide on Wednesday to scrap the reactors, which went into service in the 1970s, Kyodo News agency reported without citing any sources.

The operators will avoid the cost of beefing up safety measures to meet higher standards following Japan’s worst nuclear accident in Fukushima prefecture in 2011, Kyodo said.

The Industry Ministry said in January that the cost of decommissioning reactors, which can run to hundreds of millions of dollars and take decades until the property is ready for other uses, should be met by the general public.

The generating capacity of the five reactors is considerably lower than more recent reactors. Tsuruga Power Station Unit 1, which went into service in 1970, generates 357,000 kilowatts, compared with a modern unit that can produce more than 1,000,000 kilowatts.

The life span of nuclear reactors in Japan is 40 years. Operators can then apply for a 20-year extension or start a decommissioning process.

All of Japan’s 48 reactors remain offline following the nuclear disaster four years ago. Four of them have been so far approved by regulators to restart.

Japan marked the fourth anniversary or the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster on Wednesday. The Fukushima plant suffered a triple meltdown after it was hit by the quake and tsunami.


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