TOKYO, October 28 (RIA Novosti) — The restart of the first power plant since the 2011 Fukushima catastrophe has been approved in the Japanese city of Satsumasendai, local authorities said Tuesday.
The city council "has decided [to restart the nuclear reactor], after considering the main points of state policy in the energy sector involving the restart of state-run nuclear power plants," the Satsumasendai city's mayor Hideo Iwakiri said in a statement published on the mayor's office's official website.
The decision was made by the city's legislative assembly on Tuesday, and was subsequently approved by the city mayor. This is the first decision of this kind following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl in 1986.
The restart of the nuclear reactors needs further approval by the Japanese government.
Before the Fukushima catastrophe, nuclear power provided 30 percent of the country's energy. After the tragedy, Japan stopped all of its 50 reactors. Now 19 nuclear reactors at 12 Japanese nuclear plants are being tested to establish their compliance with the new safety standards.
The Japanese government has also adopted new rules, according to which, all security equipment should be duplicated – each station is supposed to have two control centers, one of which should be on a significant distance from the plant. There should be additional sources of electricity and water to cool the reactor.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster occurred on March 11, 2011, after a devastating tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake engulfed the nuclear plant. Some reactors' coolant systems failed which resulted in multiple hydrogen-air chemical explosions. Three of the plant's six nuclear reactors melted and radiation leaked into the atmosphere, soil and sea.