Kansai Electric Power has received an approval from the Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to extend the operating period of its nuclear reactor Mihama Unit 3 up to 60 years .

While the Mihama nuclear plant will turn 40 years old in December, the company will  now be able to operate until 2036 before it is retired, reported Reuters.

The Mihama nuclear power station unit 3 was subjected to special inspection and evaluation since May 16, 2015. The evaluation was related to its aging management technology or the extent of deterioration of the nuclear plant.

Following the evaluation, Kansai Electric Power's established a long-term maintenance management policy before submitting its application to the NRA seeking approval of extension of the plant’s operating period.

It submitted a corrective application to add the safety evaluation on the nuclear plant’s resistance to earthquakes.

The Japanese nuclear regulator also approved Kansai’s second revision in the application regarding the nuclear reactor plant’s safety policy with respect to the countermeasures to be taken to defy the deterioration of the reactor caused by aging.

Kansai said that it was hoping to restart operations of the nuclear plant very soon. It also added that it will look into the detailed safety construction measures for the Mihama 3 unit along with its schedule.

In April, 2015, Kansai revealed its decision to carry out the special inspection needed for applying for the operational extension of the plant to the NRA.

Mihama 3 unit has been shut down since 2011. Its restart is likely to happen only after Kansai Electric undertakes safety upgrades at the facility which would incur costs of around 165bn yen ($.15.bn).

Safety upgrades that include fire proofing cabling among others are to be completed in 2020.

Last year in February, Kansai was given approval by the NRA for restart Takahama nuclear power plant 3 and 4 reactors.

Image: Mihama Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui prefecture, Japan. Photo: courtesy of Alpsdake and Wikipedia.