Nuclear power in Japan is slowly but surely returning to a new normal in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown, as the country recently took another step towards restarting one of its remaining reactors. All nuclear reactors in the country were shut down for safety checks following the 2011 disaster, however the country is now about to take its first cautious step back into nuclear power. Reuters reports that the Japan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NSR) recently approved construction to upgrade the No. 1 reactor at Kyushu Electric Power Company’s plant in Sendai in southern Japan.
The upgrades will make sure the facility meets higher standards set in the wake of Fukushima, and the approval to start the project means the government could be sparking up its first reactor since the disaster as early as June. Restarting the plant is far from a done deal yet, as Japanese courts are currently considering injunctions that would prevent restarting of all the country’s nuclear power stations.
At the same time that the country is working to restart some of its shut down reactors, its utility companies are shutting down older reactors that are too expensive to upgrade. Post-Fukushima, that brings the total number that could be operational to 43, down from 54 before the disaster.
A Reuters analysis showed as many as two-thirds of these may never return to operational status due to factor such as: high costs, local opposition, or seismic risks.