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Japan’s nuclear regulator approves extension for reactor damaged in 2011 tsunami

Japan’s nuclear regulator has approved an operations extension for a 40-year-old reactor near Tokyo that was damaged in the same earthquake and tsunami that sparked the Fukushima disaster nearly eight years ago. Tokai Daini also has the same basic design as those that melted down in the Fukushima crisis and will be the first boiling water reactor to be approved for a lifetime extension of 20 years in a controversial move, Reuters reports. The approval will be a boost for operator Japan Atomic Power Co (Japco), which is owned by the country’s main utilities and is bleeding cash because of the shutdown of its two nuclear power units. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority gave the green light to the extension on Wednesday. Tokai Daini is 115km northeast of central Tokyo, the closest reactor to the capital.