sendai-nuclear-power-plantvia / May 29, 2015 / The Sendai nuclear power plant (pictured) has been given final regulatory approval to restart its reactors and moved one step closer to being the first in Japan to come online since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Plant operator Kyushu Electric Power Company first made its application to the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in mid-2013. It has finally gained the regulator’s third and final approval after being ordered to make upgrades to the 1.8GW plant’s safety equipment and construction. The company has also had to update its safety programmes, including its plans for responding to fire, flooding and natural disasters.

Now that it has gained NRA approval, Sendai must now undergo a series of inspections before it can actually come online. Kyushu Electric has not revealed when it hopes to restart its reactors.

All of Japan’s 48 nuclear reactors have been idled since the Fukushima disaster struck in early 2011, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing for restarts where possible. He has argued that a prolonged shutdown is hurting Japan’s economy, as until the disaster it had relied on nuclear power for around 30% of its power and has had to make up the shortfall with coal and expensive gas imports.

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