Japan’s nuclear regulator signed off on the basic safety of a reactor at a third nuclear plant on Wednesday, as the country inches toward rebooting its atomic industry more than four years after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
The decision will be a boost for operator Shikoku Electric Power, which relied on its sole Ikata nuclear power station in southwestern Japan for about 40 percent of its electricity output before the meltdowns at Fukushima led to the shutdown of all the country’s reactors.
For the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, resuming nuclear power, which provided about a third of Japan’s electricity supply before Fukushima, is key to lifting the economy out of two decades of anemic growth.
The country has switched to fossil fuels to compensate for the closure of reactors, pushing imports of liquefied natural gas to a record-high 7.78 trillion yen ($65 billion) in the financial year ended March 31.
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