Date
21 January 2017
Kyushu Electric Power employees restart operations inside the central control room at Sendai nuclear power station in southern Japan on Aug 11. Credit: Kyodo via Reuters
Kyushu Electric Power employees restart operations inside the central control room at Sendai nuclear power station in southern Japan on Aug 11. Credit: Kyodo via Reuters

Japan ends 2-year nuclear shutdown by restarting a reactor

Japan has restarted one its nuclear reactors, ending a two-year shutdown that came in the wake of safety concerns and new regulations following the 2011 Fukushima power plant disaster.

Kyushu Electric Power began removing control rods from a reactor at the Sendai nuclear power plant in southern Japan at 10:30 am Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The reactor is expected to begin generating electricity by the end of the week and resume commercial operation by early September, according to the report.

The plant’s second reactor is scheduled to be brought back online later this year.

Japan has shut all its 43 operable nuclear reactors since September 2013 as operators struggled to comply with stricter rules introduced in the wake of the March 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant.

The meltdown took place after a powerful earthquake and tsunami hit the region.

So far, only five have passed the main layer of scrutiny by nuclear regulators, according to the report.

Before the Fukushima accident, in which three reactors suffered meltdowns, nuclear power accounted for around 30 percent of Japan’s electricity.

Since then, however, the country has depended on coal, liquefied natural gas and oil for nearly 90 percent of its power needs, the Journal noted.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his government have said they want the reactors back online to cut the nation’s dependence on imported energy.

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