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Japan reactor restarts, despite protests, boosting Tokyo’s nuclear push via ABC

Japan has restarted a nuclear reactor despite a court challenge by local residents, in a boost for Tokyo’s faltering post-Fukushima push to bring back atomic power.

Operator Shikoku Electric Power said it switched on the No 3 reactor at its Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime prefecture, about 700 kilometres south-west of Tokyo.

The reactor — shuttered along with dozens of others across Japan in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima accident — was expected to be fully operational by August 22.

[…]

Opposition to nuclear power has seen communities across the country file lawsuits to prevent restarts, marking a serious challenge for Mr Abe’s pro-nuclear stance.

In April, a court ruled that Japan’s only two working nuclear reactors could remain online, rejecting an appeal by residents who said tougher post-Fukushima safety rules were still inadequate.

Two other reactors in central Japan had also been restarted before a court in March ordered them offline in response to a legal challenge.

Including the reactor restarting on Friday, Japan will have just three operating reactors — and furious local residents have vowed to fight on.

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