Photo/IllutrationA group of visitors, including Keidanren chair Sadayuki Sakakibara, view the spent nuclear fuel pool of the No. 3 reactor at Ikata Nuclear Power Plant in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture, on Dec. 7. (Hirotaka Yamaguchi)

  • Photo/Illustraion

IKATA, Ehime Prefecture--Japan may need to expand existing nuclear power plants or build new ones as it will rely on nuclear power generation in the future, according to Sadayuki Sakakibara, chair of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation).

Sakakibara made the remarks on Dec. 7 when he visited Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata Nuclear Power Plant here in western Shikoku island.

Company President Hayato Saeki showed Sakakibara around the plant and told him about the operation of the restarted reactor No. 3 and safety measures that have been implemented.

“As an important source of energy, we will continue to utilize nuclear power plants,” Sakakibara said after the visit. “We need to explore the expansion of existing facilities and building new plants as future options.”

The Ikata plant’s No. 3 reactor was restarted in September 2016 after five years and four months of suspension.

It went offline in October 2017 for a regular checkup, which is scheduled to last through January 2018.

“It seems (Shikoku Electric) is implementing thorough measures taking in lessons from the Fukushima nuclear plant accident,” said Sakakibara.

“I would like them to put operational safety first.”