Before the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, there were 54 nuclear power plants in Japan. After the accident, all the nuclear power plants owned by TEPCO and Tohoku Electric Power Company were shut down, and the situation of “zero nuclear power plants” has already continued for more than 10 years in eastern Japan.
In September 2012, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) was established, and in July 2013, new regulatory standards were enacted. Nuclear power plants are required to be reviewed by the NRA based on the new regulatory standards before restarting. In September 2013, Kansai Electric Power Company’s reactors No. 3 and No. 4 at its Ohi nuclear power plant were shut down, leading to a period of almost two years with no nuclear power plants across Japan. As of August 2021, the number of nuclear power plants that have passed the regulatory standards and have restarted operations are 10.
However, even once the reactors were restarted, some of them were shut down again because of the delays in the construction of facilities to deal with specific serious accidents and court decisions to suspend operations.
Nuclear power plants are far from being a “stable” power source.