Tokyo, June 2 (EFE).- The regional government in the western Shimane prefecture of Japan Thursday said it had approved a plan to reactivate one of its Fukushima-type nuclear reactors lying idle for a decade.
Governor Tatsuya Maruyama told the regional assembly about restarting the No.2 reactor of the Shimane nuclear plant, owned by the Chugoku Electric Power in the Matsue city.
The reactor, which is similar to the troubled plant, could be the first of its kind to enter into operation since the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant following the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The reactors reactivated so far are pressurized water reactors (PWR), while Shimane, like the Fukushima, is the boiling water reactor.
The Chugoku power company aims to reactivate the unit earliest by 2023.
The facility’s No.3 reactor is under evaluation while the No.1 would be decommissioned, said the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters in Tokyo that the central government would ensure safety was prioritized at the nuclear reactors set to be restarted.
He said the government respected the decision of the nuclear regulatory authority as long as the safety protocols were met.
The nod for the reactivation of the reactor came after a Japanese court Tuesday ordered a nuclear power plant in Hokkaido to remain shut, marking a new legal setback for the government’s plans to expand atomic power generation after the Fukushima crisis.
The court was hearing the applications of over 1,000 plaintiffs over safety concerns as the operator sought permission to restart the plant.
The plan to reactivate No.3 and 4 reactors of the Oi plant and the Tokai plant was also stopped by courts in recent years.
Japan entered a “nuclear blackout” after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant on Mar.11, 2011.
The government and the Japanese nuclear regulator established stricter safety protocols in the wake of the crisis, forcing all plants in the country to suspend operations until they meet the new standards.
Japan restarted its first reactor in 2015 after the crisis.
Since then, 10 of the reactors have returned to operations, eight have obtained permissions and another 10 are under inspection.
Eight have not been initiated and 21 have been dismantled.
Two boiling water reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant have been given the go-ahead to operate, but none have been reactivated so far.
It has hindered the government’s objective to generate 22 to 24 percent of its energy from nuclear plants for its decarbonization goal by 2030. EFE