Tokyo, June 18, 2012 — Japan's prime minister gave approval to restart the first two of Japan's now-idled fleet of nuclear reactors. Units 3 and 4 of the Ohi nuclear power plant, both of which have a generation capacity of 1,180 MW, will be back at full power by the end of July, according to reports.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda gave plant operator Kansai Electric Power Co. clearance to restart the plant following meetings with cabinet members and utility officials. The units at Ohi have been offline due to regularly scheduled inspections.
Japan has been without nuclear energy since the country's 50 reactors were shut down as part of a government-ordered stress test. The stress tests are part of the government's response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
Before the disaster, Japan was the world's third heaviest user of nuclear energy, following the U.S. and France. Japan formerly generated 30 percent of its power from nuclear power plants.