Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) in Japan has given the green light to restart a reactor at the Shikoku Electric Power operated Ikata Nuclear Power Plant, which was shut down after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
The 890MW reactor is one of the three at the facility, which is located around 700 km away to the west-southwest of Tokyo on the island of Shikoku.
Ikata No 3 reactor, which was commissioned in 1994, received the approval after the NRA commissioners reviewed the plant as per the amended guidelines, and found that it meets safety guidelines.
Following the Fukushima disaster, Japan introduced stringent guidelines for nuclear plants in 2013 and set up the nuclear regulator to independently review them.
This is the third nuclear facility in the country to have received safety approval after nationwide shut down of the atomic industry following nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.
The facility houses two more nuclear units that have a a capacity of 566MW each, one of which is aged almost 40 years.
Operator Shikoku Electric Power has not applied for the restart of the other two reactors at the facility, despite meeting NRA safety norms, Bloomberg reported.
This, however, is the initial safety approval by the NRA, which is to be followed later on by a final approval.
The plant will also need consent of local authorities and operational checks prior to the reactor restart.
Kansai Electric Power and Kyushu Electric Power are the other two operators to receive safety approval from the country’s nuclear regulator previously.
Nuclear restart is favoured by the present Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since the country had been spending billions for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) to meet its energy requirements.
Japan had recorded an investment of JPY7.78 trillion ($65bn) for LNG imports in the 2014-15 financial year.
Image: Ikata nuclear power plant houses one 890MW unit and two 566MW units in Japan. Photo: courtesy of ja:User:Newsliner.