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Japan nuclear watchdog says two reactors safe to switch back on

Published on Jul 16, 2014 7:32 PM
 
Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, speaks during a press briefing to explain the new regulatory standards relating to commercial power reactors, in Tokyo on July 16, 2014. Japan's nuclear watchdog said Wednesday, July 16, 2014, that two atomic reactors were safe enough to switch back on, marking a big step towards restarting the country's nuclear plants which were shuttered after the Fukushima crisis. -- PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's nuclear watchdog said Wednesday that two atomic reactors were safe enough to switch back on, marking a big step towards restarting the country's nuclear plants which were shuttered after the Fukushima crisis.

But fresh protests - and accusations that the regulator is a puppet of the powerful atomic industry - have highlighted the challenges Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces in bringing back a technology that many Japanese have forever sworn off.

Mr Abe has been trying to persuade a wary public that the world's third largest economy must return to an energy source which once supplied more than a quarter of its power.

Widespread anti-nuclear sentiment has simmered in Japan ever since an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 caused meltdowns at the Fukushima power plant - the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.

 
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