The new company, KK6 Safety Measures Joint Venture Co Ltd, has an investment of JPY300 million ($2.8m) and capital of JPY150 million with Toshiba and Tepco each holding 50%.
Kashiwazaki Kariwa-6 and -7 have been offline for periodic inspections since March 2012 and August 2011, and restarting them would increase Tepco’s earnings by an estimated JPY100 billion a year, the company said.
While the units have been offline, work was carried out to improve the facility’s earthquake resistance.
In December 2017 Units 6 and 7 became the first boiling water reactors to meet new regulatory standards imposed after the Fukushima-Daiichi accident, but they have not yet been restarted.
Kashiwazaki Kariwa was not affected by the earthquake and tsunami which damaged Fukushima-Daiichi, but the station’s seven reactors were all offline following a 2007 earthquake which damaged the site but did not damage the reactors themselves.
Tepco said it is concentrating its resources on restarting Units 6 and 7 while it also deals with the cleanup at Fukushima-Daiichi.
Japan has a total of 62 nuclear power units, but shut down all 42 reactors that were operating at the time after the Fukushima-Daiichi accident. Thirty-three units have a licence to operate although before units return to service they need to meet the stricter safety standards.
Nine units have returned to service since the Fukushima-Daiichi accident, but two of them, Sendai-1 and -2, have been shut down again this year after failing to meet deadlines for safety improvements.
The seven plants still in commercial operation are Genkai-3 and -4, Ikata-3, Ohi-3 and -4 and Takahama-3 and -4.
Before the Fukushima-Daiichi accident Japan generated about 30% of its electricity from nuclear with plans to increase the share to 40%. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency Japan’s nuclear share in 2019 was 7.5%.