Japan Powering Up Reactor Amid Protests

Electric companies planning to stick with nuclear
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2012 3:13 AM CDT
Japan Powering Up Reactor Amid Protests
Members of a women's association shout slogans during a rally to protest against restarting the Ohi nuclear power plant's reactors.   (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)

After almost two months of doing without nuclear energy for the first time in nearly 40 years, Japan is planning to restart its first reactor this weekend, CNN reports. Nuclear power supplied almost a third of the country's electricity before last year's Fukushima disaster, but all 50 of the country's reactors have been offline for safety checks since early May. Despite public safety concerns, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has approved restarting two reactors in western Japan to avoid power shortages.

All but one of Japan's electric companies held shareholder meetings yesterday, and shareholders voted in favor of sticking with nuclear power, reports Reuters. "Nuclear energy is an important source of power that we will utilize," said the chief of Kansai Electric after his company's meeting. "There is absolutely no plan to scrap nuclear power." The cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe are major shareholders in the company, and their mayors urged the nation to shift away from nuclear power. (Read more Japan stories.)

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