Photo/IllutrationThe Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant that spans the towns of Naraha and Tomioka in Fukushima Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

FUKUSHIMA--Tokyo Electric Power Co. for the first time said it will decommission the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant, its facility on Japan’s northeastern coast that shut down properly in the 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster.

“We want to start concrete discussions toward decommissioning (the No. 2 plant),” TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa said during a June 14 meeting with Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori at the prefectural government office here.

The four-reactor nuclear power plant spans the towns of Naraha and Tomioka and sits about 10 kilometers south of TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which suffered a triple meltdown after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, 2011.

Kobayakawa said uncertainties over the future of the now-idle No. 2 plant could hamper reconstruction efforts in areas hit by the nuclear accident.

“I explained at a meeting of (TEPCO’s) board of directors about our policy to decommission all reactors (of both plants), and I obtained their consent,” Kobayakawa told reporters after his meeting with Uchibori.

The Fukushima prefectural assembly and the assemblies of all 59 municipalities in the prefecture have demanded the utility decommission all reactors at the two plants.

TEPCO long ago decided to decommission all six reactors at the No. 1 plant, which spans the towns of Okuma and Futaba.

However, until now, the company had not shown a clear stance on whether it would seek to restart or decommission the No. 2 plant’s reactors, which have remained offline since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Uchibori on June 14 welcomed TEPCO’s decision.

“People in my prefecture have strongly demanded that all reactors, including those of the No. 2 plant, be decommissioned,” he said. “(The decommissioning) will become an important start to dispel persistent groundless (radiation) rumors about my prefecture as soon as possible.”

Each reactor at the No. 2 plant has an output of 1.1 gigawatts. They are also all approaching the basic age limit for operations of 40 years.

The oldest No. 1 reactor started operating in 1982, while the newest No. 4 reactor did so in 1987.

An estimated 140 billion yen would be needed just to put the reactors in operable condition. Several hundreds of billions of yen would also be needed to ensure the reactors meet stricter safety standards that were introduced after the 2011 nuclear disaster.