Ja­pan restarts first N-plant af­ter Fukushima

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

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.

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