TOKYO, April 14 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said two nuclear reactors were safe enough to be returned to service to help alleviate power shortages.
Nuclear reactors in Japan were left shut down one by one after being powered down for routine maintenance as a response to the March 13, 2011, earthquake and the following tsunami that caused massive damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Only one of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors is still operating, and that is scheduled for a maintenance shutdown in May, The New York Times reported Saturday.
The British Broadcasting Corp. said Noda has specified two reactors at the Ohi nuclear power plant in western Japan as safe enough for a return to service.
The prime minister's first task, the BBC said, would be to convince local officials to go along with the plan.
The minister of industry, Yukio Edano, also spoke to the issue Friday, saying the Kansai Electric Power Co., which owns the Ohi power plant, would have only 80 percent of the power necessary to get through the summer, when air conditioners increase the demand for electricity.
"I have to say we are facing the risk of a very severe electricity shortage," Edano said.