Japanese authorities were expected on Tuesday to delay a decision on restarting two nuclear reactors, although both have cleared government-imposed stress tests.
Prime minister Yoshihiko Noda will discuss with three members of his cabinet the situation of Kansai Electric Power’s units No. 3 and No.4 at Ohi nuclear plant, but protests of the local communities may prevent them from deciding the restart of the reactors, according to Japanese press reports.
On Monday, trade minister Yukio Edano said that the reactors would not be restarted until the support of locals is obtained.
The two reactors are the first to pass the government’s stress tests and a decision on their future is symbolic for the path Japan will take in terms of energy supply. Currently, only one of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors is functional but it is also scheduled for shut down in early May, for safety checks.
According to the government, Japan would have to tackle a 9.2 percent power shortage in the summer, if all nuclear reactors are offline and no other measures are taken. The authorities suggested measures like conserving energy, increasing output from fossil fuel plants and solar power sources.
Before last year’s accident at Fukushima plant, Japan got about a third of its energy needs from nuclear sources.