A nuclear reactor has been restarted in Japan for the first time in nearly 2 years.
The No.1 reactor at the Sendai nuclear plant in southwestern Japan is the first to go back online under new regulations introduced after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.
On Tuesday morning, workers at the plant’s central control room operated a lever to pull out the reactor’s 32 control rods. Plant operator Kyushu Electric Power Company says there’s been no trouble so far.
If all goes well, the reactor is due to achieve a sustained nuclear chain reaction in about 12-and-a-half hours and begin generating power on Friday. After gradually raising output, Kyushu Electric plans to begin commercial operations in early September.
The utility says it will watch carefully for any abnormalities in equipment operation, as the reactor has been kept offline for more than 4 years.
The 2-reactor Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture last year cleared the new, rigorous regulations introduced after the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. It completed all necessary inspections on Monday.
The reactor is the first to go online since September 2013, when the Ohi nuclear plant in central Japan halted operations.