Japan to Restart 2 Nuclear Reactors

Posted June 15th, 2012 at 11:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Japan's prime minister has approved the resumption of nuclear power operations at two reactors, the first to come back on-line since all were shut down after the Fukushima crisis last year.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced the decision to resume operations at the Ohi power plant in western Japan at a meeting with key ministers on Saturday.

The decision to restart the reactors was made to avert a summer energy crunch. Currently, all of Japan's 50 nuclear plants are idle.

Greenpeace Japan Executive Director Junichi Sato said in a press release last week that experts, not politicians, should be ruling on safety. He said that Ohi is not safe, because the necessary technical improvements have not been made.

The Fukushima nuclear plant in northern Japan was destroyed by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11 of last year, triggering a partial meltdown and releasing potentially dangerous radiation over a wide area.

After Fukushima, scientists and energy experts have been questioning whether – in the face of unpredictable natural disasters – nuclear power can ever be developed economically or managed safely.