Tohoku’s Nuclear Power Plant to Reopen for the First Time Since 2011

On October 13th, 2020, The Tohoku Electric’s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant has been approved to reopen by Governor Yoshihiro Murai.

October 15, 2020

On October 13th, 2020, The Tohoku Electric’s Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant has been approved to reopen by the Governor of Miyagi Prefecture, Yoshihiro Murai. Onagawa Nuclear will be restarting its second reactor sometime in 2022. The facility has not been in operation since the Great Tohoku Earthquake of 2011.

Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant felt the full brunt of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake. Image sourced from Kurihalant Co Ltd.

Located in Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture, it was the closest nuclear facility to the epicenter. All three reactors managed to persevere through extreme ground shaking and the following tsunami without taking any significant damage.

Despite being unharmed, all three reactors of the plant were shut down after the earthquake, according to legally mandated procedures. Reactor 1 has since been planned to be decommissioned. But following a request to restart the second reactor from Tohoku Electric Power Company made all the way back in 2013, the Nuclear Regulatory Agency has finally approved the reactor. The seven-year wait was due to the NRA waiting for new regulations to be created before conducting the inspection.

Tohoku region was severely hit by the tsunami on March 11, 2011.

During the tsunami, the 14.8-meter tall seawall managed to save much of the facility from flooding. Just north of the facility, a small town was completely wiped away from the tsunami. The 14-meter high wall is cited to be the idea of Yanosuke Hirai, who insisted on the higher walls at the time of the facilities’ construction. Following the 2011 tsunami, it has since been built up to an even higher 17 meters.

Japan Insider

Japan Insider is a Tokyo-based media platform that provides an up-to-date flow of unique news and cultural insights into what’s happening in Japan today.

More articles by Japan Insider

Related Articles


avatar for Christian DakinChristian Dakin

Christian Dakin is an editor, designer, and video game director currently based out of Tokyo, Japan. Origin...

avatar for Yasu MatsunoYasu Matsuno

Founder of Japan Insider. Japanese-born entrepreneur. Spent his life around the globe, including To...

avatar for Kevin MurasakiKevin Murasaki

Kevin Murasaki grew up moving back and forth between Chicago and Yokohama, Japan. Known as a "hafu", Kevi...

avatar for Mark KennedyMark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy is a native of Chicago who has spent more than 20 years living, studying, and working in Jap...