Oi votes to restart Japan reactors

Featured - May 15th, 2012

A rural town council meeting was held in Oi, Fukui prefecture, to vote for sending two reactors back online. The decision was 11-1 in favor of restarting the reactors and could help resolve potential power shortages. The vote still, though, needs support from the Fukui prefecture and other local governments.

The last of Japan’s 50 surviving reactors was shut down for inspection, meaning Japan’s first spell without nuclear energy since 1970. The restarting of some reactors raised concerns and has received outright opposition in the wake of the Fukushima accident. Japan’s nuclear power plants provide 30% of its electricity, sparking debate among national officials. This also hurt shares in electric companies such as Kansai Electric Power, the owner of the Oi plant, and Tokyo Electric Power. Oi, one of the towns that hosts a nuclear plant, is heavily dependent on industry and if the reactors remain offline for long it could have a detrimental impact on the local economy.

Prime Minister Yoshiko Noda declared that the two reactors had undergone “stress tests” and are safe. Opposition to the restarting of the reactors continue despite warnings on shortages this summer.