Japan has restarted a nuclear reactor for the first time since the Fukushima disaster in 2011, as the government seeks to reassure a nervous public that the industry is now safe with the new safety standards.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and much of Japanese industry want the reactors to be switched on again to cut fuel bills, but opinion polls show a majority of the public oppose the move after the nuclear crisis triggered by the earthquake and tsunami four years ago.
Kyushu Electric Power began the restart on Tuesday of the No 1 reactor at its Sendai plant, about 1,000km southwest of Tokyo, a spokesman said
The 31-year-old reactor, operating under tougher post-Fukushima safety rules, was expected to reach full capacity around 11pm Tuesday and would start generating power by Friday.
Commercial operations are to begin early next month, a company spokesman said.
Abe has said only reactors that were deemed to have cleared the “world’s most stringent regulation standards” would be allowed to restart.
The head of Japan’s atomic watchdog said that new safety rules meant a repeat of the Fukushima disaster would not happe
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