The nuclear power plant in Ikata, operated by Shikoku Electric Power Co., is currently seen as a likely candidate to be the next nuclear reactor to be restarted. This would make it the second facility to be taken out of suspension, after the Oi, Fukui Prefecture plant, since the March 2011 nuclear disaster. The prospects right now for restarting additional nuclear reactors still remains uncertain however, as the government is dealing with a heavy backlash from the public, both in Japan and abroad, who remain heavily opposed to Japan’s return to the use of nuclear power.
In March of this year, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), which operates under the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, stated that it approved of the modifications made for safety and stress tests of the nuclear plant in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture. The agency’s approval of these results is one of the requirements for a suspended reactor to be considered for restart. On Saturday, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda called for the immediate restart of the Oi nuclear plant, with expectations that it will be at full operation by the end of July.
The Oi nuclear facility, operated by Kansai Electric Power Co., is the first of Japan’s 50 reactors to come out of suspension. Prime Minister Noda hasn’t made any comments either way about the restart of additional reactors, however he and Yukio Edano, the Minister of Industry, have stated that the government’s goal is to reduce Japan’s reliance on nuclear power, and make an increasing shift to the use of renewable energy sources.