Japan to restart second nuclear power plant after two-year hiatus

The plant is resuming operations after a four-year shutdown.
By Elizabeth Shim  |  Jan. 25, 2016 at 2:29 PM
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TOKYO, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A nuclear power plant that went offline after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster is resuming operations.

The Takahama nuclear power plant in western Japan is to restart as early as Friday. A local government in Shiga Prefecture and Kansai Electric, a utility, signed an agreement on safety issues Monday, Kyodo News reported.

The Nihon Keizai reported the plant is resuming operations after a four-year shutdown and is the second plant to restart after the decommissioning of the nuclear plant in Fukushima that has leaked nuclear material into nearby waters.

The first nuclear power plant to resume operations is in Kyushu and the decision to restart the reactor at the plant drew protests from concerned residents in 2014.

But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed for the restarting of nuclear reactors. Tokyo has said the reactivation is necessary because importing fossil fuels for thermal power plants is costly for Japan.

The agreement signed Monday requires Kansai Electric to report emergency situations at the plant and to pay for damages that occur in the wake of accidents.

Less authority was given to Shiga Prefecture, although in most cases municipalities and local governments are awarded jurisdiction over power plants.

Shiga Gov. Taizo Mikazuki told reporters he had been reluctant to accept the terms.

Kansai Electric stated it would reboot the Takahama plant's No. 3 reactor Friday evening.

The reactor runs on uranium-plutonium mixed oxide fuel.

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