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Report: Japan to restart first nuclear reactors since Fukushima

By the CNN Wire Staff
June 16, 2012 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
This picture taken in April shows the third and fourth reactor building of the Ohi nuclear power plant in Japan.
This picture taken in April shows the third and fourth reactor building of the Ohi nuclear power plant in Japan.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two nuclear reactors are to resume operations in the Fukui prefecture
  • Japan shut down all reactors following the Fukushima crisis
  • The prime minister says he is determined to restore the people's trust in nuclear energy

Tokyo (CNN) -- Japan has given the go-ahead for operations to resume at two nuclear reactors on its western coast, the first to be restarted after the government shut down all reactors following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Despite public objections, the government approved restarting reactors at the Kansai Electric Power Company in Ohi in Fukui prefecture. Ohi and Fukushima are on the main island of Honshu.

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"We are determined to make further efforts to restore people's trust in nuclear policy and safety regulations," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters Saturday shortly after the announcement.

Noda said he agreed to allow the two nuclear reactors to resume operations after winning "local consent."

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The move allows for the possibility that more of Japan's nuclear reactors will resume operation.

The country's 50 reactors were all but shut down following a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant triggered by a tsunami on March 11, 2011. Thousands of residents within a 12-mile radius were forced to evacuate.

Before the Fukushima disaster, Japan had relied on nuclear energy for about 30% of its electric needs. As reactors have come offline, the country has increased its imports of fossil fuels.

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CNN's Kyung Lah and Junko Ogura contributed to this report.

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