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Japan One Step Closer to Nuclear Restart; Reactors Likely to be Turned On by Weekend

Japanese mayor approves plan to restart nuclear power plant

by
Common Dreams staff

Japan's Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui prefecture, where two reactors may be restarted. (Photo: Kepco/EPA)

A nuclear energy restart in Japan has moved one step closer today, after Shinobu Tokioka, the mayor of Oi, a town in Fukui prefecture, said he had been persuaded to support the restart of two nuclear reactors at the Oi nuclear plant.

Following an appeal from Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, and an approval from the local nuclear safety commission, the Mayor of Oi effectively approved the restart.

The restart now needs only one more voice of approval from Issei Nishikawa, the governor of the prefecture of Fukui, which includes Oi; he is expected to approve the restart on Friday.

The restart of the reactors is most likely to begin on Saturday in the first nuclear power restart since plants began closing after last year's Fukushima disaster.

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Agence France-Press: Japan 'closer to restarting nuclear reactors'

A controversial decision to restart two nuclear reactors in western Japan moved closer on Thursday when the mayor of a town near the plant gave his approval, reports said.

Japan's entire stable of 50 working reactors is currently offline after a backlash against nuclear power following the quake-tsunami that sparked meltdowns at Fukushima in March 2011.

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Government rules say reactors must pass internationally approved stress tests designed to demonstrate they can withstand a natural disaster, and then get assent from their host communities.

The mayor of Oi said he would support the restarting of units 3 and 4 at the Oi nuclear plant, Jiji Press said, following an appeal from Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who stressed the importance of restarting the units.

The move now needs to get approval from Issei Nishikawa, the governor of the prefecture of Fukui, which includes Oi, and he was expected to give his consent Friday, local media reports said.

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The Guardian/UK: Japanese mayor approves plan to restart nuclear power plant

Shinobu Tokioka, the mayor of Oi, a town in Fukui prefecture, said he had been persuaded to support the restart after the prefecture's nuclear safety commission said earlier this week that necessary safety measures had been put in place. Tokioka, who founded a company that supplies pipes and other materials to the plant, added he was concerned about possible power shortages and the impact on the local economy if the plant remained closed. [...]

ssei Nishikawa, the governor of Fukui prefecture – Japan's "nuclear alley" with 13 reactors – is also expected to approve the measure.

The Japanese prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, is expected to make the decision official on Saturday. The reactors would be switched back on immediately, although they would not reach full output until the end of July.

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