TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Two more nuclear reactors in southwestern Japan passed a key state safety assessment Wednesday, but uncertainty remains over whether operator Kyushu Electric Power Co. will win local consent to bring them back on line amid lingering safety concerns.
The Nos. 3 and 4 units of the Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture are among the many reactors in Japan seeking to resume operation after the country introduced tougher safety requirements in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011.
The government has been pushing for the resumption of reactors as nuclear power is regarded as a key energy source in Japan even after the Fukushima disaster, but the process of reactivating them has been slow partly due to safety concerns.
As for the resumption of the Genkai reactors, the city of Imari in Saga, which is located within a 30-kilometer radius of the plant, has expressed concerns over evacuation preparations.
The Fukushima disaster led the central government to expand the areas around nuclear power plants that should prepare for evacuation from a 10-km radius to 30 km.
While Japan has more than 40 commercial reactors nationwide, only two reactors are now operating -- the No. 1 reactor at Kyushu Electric's Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture and the No. 3 reactor at Shikoku Electric Power Co.'s Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture.
The Sendai plant's No. 2 unit is operable, but is undergoing regular checkups at the moment.
Two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture were also brought back on line last year after clearing the safety hurdles, but faced a court injunction in connection with safety issues and there are no clear prospects for when they will restart.