September 10, 2014 / 2:38 AM / 3 years ago

Japan nuclear regulator gives final safety approval for Sendai restart

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s nuclear regulator gave final safety approval to restart two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co Inc’s Sendai plant on Wednesday, the regulator’s first major ruling since it was formed in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

An employee of Kyushu Electric Power Co walks in front of reactor buildings at the company's Sendai nuclear power plant in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima prefecture April 3, 2014. REUTERS/Mari Saito

All 48 of Japan’s nuclear reactors have been gradually idled since a massive earthquake and tsunami set off a devastating nuclear disaster at Fukushima and sparked public opposition to atomic power.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pressing to restart reactors that receive safety approval from the Nuclear Regulation Authority to reduce Japan’s reliance on expensive imported fuel. Japan is also moving to shutter the nation’s oldest reactors that are 40 years old or more.

Reporting by Kentaro Hamada; Editing by Michael Perry

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