Against much public backlash, two reactors at a nuclear power plant in Sendai are scheduled to be restarted. These will be the first to restart operations after all the country’s nuclear plants were shut down indefinitely following the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011.
The Sendai Nuclear Power Plant operated by Kyushu Electric Power is set to be the first of Japan’s inactive nuclear power plants to restart after the local assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of it being put back into action.
After the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami which resulted in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, all 48 of Japan’s nuclear plants were shut down indefinitely. Prime Minister Abe’s government has been pushing to bring Japan’s nuclear power generators back online on the grounds that importing fossil fuels to make up for the 30 percent of power that was previously nuclear-generated is having a detrimental effect on the Japanese economy. However, the final say on restarting has been left to local authorities. Satsumasendai, the city where the plant is located, had already voted in favour of restarting the plant and a vote on Friday also resulted in 38 out of 47 of Kagoshima’s prefectural assembly backing the restart.
The governor of Kagoshima Prefecture, Yuichiro Ito, also endorsed the restart, telling press, “I have decided that it is unavoidable to restart the No. 1 and No. 2 Sendai nuclear reactors. I have said that assuring safety is a prerequisite and that the government must ensure safety and publicly explain it thoroughly to residents.”
While the plant’s restart has been officially approved, due to further regulatory and safety checks it is predicted that it will not be operational until sometime next year.