Japan to reopen shut nuclear plants only if safety is completely restored

24 September 2014 (Last Updated September 24th, 2014 18:30)

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced the government does not intend to recommence operations at the closed nuclear power plants unless safety aspects are all completely restored.

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Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced the government does not intend to recommence operations at the closed nuclear power plants unless safety aspects are all completely restored.

On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Abe said that his government is currently looking at streamlined options to introduce renewable power projects to the country.

Currently, the country is completely dependent on fossil fuels.

The prime minister's comments come almost two weeks after Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) gave a formal safety approval for restarting Kyushu Electric Power's two-reactor Sendai plant in the south-western part of the country.

The approval has been seen as the first step to the reopening of the nuclear industry.

All 48 reactors in Japan had been halted following the devastating nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant in 2011, which had led to vehement public opposition and mistrust of the sector.

The final approval for the restart of the Sendai plant came after a public consultation period.

The preliminary approval was secured by the plant in July this year.

"The plant still needs to receive local approval to restart and must also go through the on-site operational inspections."

The plant still needs to receive local approval to restart and must also go through the on-site operational inspections, reports the Kyodo news agency.

This could mean that the plant is not likely to commence operations before December.

Before the disaster at the Fakushima plant, nuclear plants catered to around 30% of the country's power requirements.

Abe has been pushing for the reopening of several nuclear plants, but only if they meet the safety criteria.

The government has also urged the regulatory authorities to decide whether to decommission the oldest of the country's 48 reactors.


Image: The Fakushima nuclear plant. Photo: courtesy of KEI / Wikipedia

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