Japan Lifts Ban, Restarts First Reactor

Under stringent new safety regulations, Japan on Tuesday restarted a nuclear reactor for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Kyushu Electric Power restarted the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai plant at about 10:30 a.m. local time, ending a two-year ban on nuclear power. The move has unnerved some local residents who remain skeptical about the tougher regulations. Protesters gathered outside the Sendai plant and at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Tokyo residence. Kyushu Electric spokesman Tomomitsu Sakata said the reactor went online with no problems and it would take about 24 hours before a full nuclear reaction takes place. The plant is expected to begin generating power by Friday. All nuclear plants were closed after a powerful earthquake struck off the coast in Japan in March 2011, triggering a tsunami that damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant and led to a meltdown. Nearly 16,000 people died and more than 2,500 are listed as missing from the disaster.