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Aging Reactors Mean Japan Faces $13 Billion Decommissioning Cost

More than a third of Japan’s nuclear reactors will need to apply for license extensions within five years or face decommissioning at a time when the industry’s safety record is in tatters after the Fukushima disaster.

The country’s 54 reactors were licensed for 30 years and operators can apply for 10-year extensions to a maximum life of six decades. Twenty-one are nearing renewal, according to data from utilities and the World Nuclear Association. Of those seven will enter their fifth decade if extensions are granted, which should be avoided, according to a professor of metallurgy.