The governor of Japan's Kagoshima prefecture, Yuichiro Ito, has given the go-ahead for the restart of units 1&2 at the Sendai nuclear power plant.
The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) hailed the decision as a 'major turning point,' although various other approvals are required before the reactors can resume operation. The reactors would be the first to restart under Japan's new nuclear safety requirements.
Restart of Sendai 1&2 is expected at the beginning of 2015, at the earliest, JAIF said.
The municipal government of nearby town of Satsumasendai approved the restart of Sendai 1&2 on 28 October. Approval is also needed from the Japanese nuclear regulator.
Last month, Kyushu Electric Power Co, which operates Sendai 1&2, submitted the final documentation needed to restart the units to the Nuclear Regulation Authority. This included reports detailing the engineering changes made to the units, as well as changes to operating routines and emergency management procedures.
Hereafter, the Kyushu Electric Power Co. will complete various legal procedures, including obtaining approval of work plans, operational safety programmes and pre-service inspections, JAIF said.
Sendai 1&2, both 890 MW pressurised water reactors, ceased operation for a periodic inspection in May 2011 and September 2011, respectively.
Photo: Sendai 1&2 in Japan