Japan restarts first N-plant after Fukushima
JAPAN HAS restarted its first nuclear reactor under new safety rules. The country had gradually shut down all the 44 operable reactors two years ago after a series of meltdowns at the Fukushima plant, sparked off by a tsunami and earthquake. But after passing stringent new safety tests, Kyushu Electric Power restarted the Number I reactor at its plant in the city of Sendai. The 30-year-old Sendai Number I reactor is expected to reach full capacity in September. The second Sendai reactor is due to restart in October. There is still a strong public unease about the return to nuclear power. Protests took place outside the Sendai plant and at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's residence in Tokyo. A total of 25 plants have applied to be restarted, but all are facing legal challenges from the local community. Before the Fukushima accident, nuclear power accounted for about 30 per cent of Japan's electricity.