Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO), the utility company responsible for managing the nuclear power plant in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, has stated that it will be restarting its second reactor since the Fukushima disaster on July 18th. The first was activated at the beginning of this month, after Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda gave his approval in mid-June. All 50 of Japan’s nuclear reactors went into suspension as a result of the nuclear crisis last march, with the last one going offline on May 5th of this year.
Amid heavy public protest, Japan’s central government has pushed ahead with its decision to return the country to the use of nuclear power. The power plant in Japan’s western Fukui Prefecture was chosen because it supplies the heavily populated Kansai region, which includes Osaka, the country’s second largest city. It was believed that without the use of nuclear power, the region would suffer from electricity shortages as high as 15% over the demanding summer months.
The second Oi reactor will be reactivated on the night of the 18th, with electricity starting to be generated on the 21st. Full-capacity operation is then expected to be reached on July 25th. KEPCO feels confident that this will greatly reduce any power supply shortages, however the utility, along with local Kansai governments, are still asking residents and business to try to reduce their electricity usage.