The reactor is the only one in the country to run on mixed oxide fuel (MOX), which is a blend of plutonium and certain types of uranium, which is produced from the utilized nuclear fuel. Scientists have controversial opinions on this kind of fuel as plutonium is far more radioactive than commonly used low-enriched uranium, and the use of plutonium-based fuel requires compliance with higher safety and security standards.
In April, the Nuclear Regulation Authority announced that the Ikata's Unit 3 passed a three-step approval process following nationwide NPP shutdowns in the wake of 2011 9.0-magnitude offshore earthquake. The reactor restarting procedures were launched in June, but the authorities deemed the reactor's functioning unsafe, and the process was postponed.
The opponents to the restart of Ikata NPP also commonly recall its location on the Shikoku Island — in case of a disaster, a rapid evacuation would be unlikely to take place as the involvement of air and maritime transport would be necessary.