World Nuclear Association Hails Japanese Reactor's Restart

"The restart of Sendai unit 1 puts Japan on the road to recovery. Going forward, it is essential that the nuclear industry works harder at building better relationships with the public as well as improving our performance and future technology offerings," said Agneta Rising, the association's director general.

The nuclear energy industry is applauding Japan's decision to restart the Sendai nuclear power plant's unit 1 reactor this month. The World Nuclear Association's director general, Agneta Rising, issued a statement saying the decision by Japan "has reminded the world that it is committed to creating a better future." According to the London-based association, there are 43 operable Japanese nuclear reactors that are "mostly expected to start coming back online over the coming months and years."

"This is a hugely important step which sets the country firmly on the path to restoring its trade balance and regaining energy independence, as well as reducing emissions," Rising said.

All nuclear power reactors in Japan have been offline since a tsunami caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident in March 2011.

"It is completely understandable that people's faith in nuclear technology was shaken by the events of 11 March 2011, but now the Japanese people need to see their reactors performing efficiently and reliably with operators fully committed to protecting public health and the environment. It is important that they are reminded of the key role nuclear energy has traditionally played in supporting industry, keeping bills down, and keeping Japan secure," Rising said. "The global nuclear industry stands united in welcoming news of the first Japanese reactor restart. The Japanese nuclear industry is an important part of the global industry, and we have to a degree shared their hardships. The restart of Sendai unit 1 puts Japan on the road to recovery. Going forward, it is essential that the nuclear industry works harder at building better relationships with the public as well as improving our performance and future technology offerings."

Sendai 1 is a pressurized water reactor located on the southwest coast of Kyushu; it is owned and operated by the Kyushu Electric Power Company. The association reports the shutdown of nuclear power generation is costing Japan $30 billion each year to pay for imported fossil fuel being used to substitute for the idled nuclear reactors.

Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) announced in October 2012 that nuclear power plant restart reviews would include a safety assessment by NRA and a briefing of affected local governments by the operators. NRA approved Kyushu Electric Power Company's proposals for changes to the reactor in September 2014, which meant NRA considered the reactor and the plant as a whole to be safe for operation, according to the association.

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