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Anti-nuclear governor in Japan asks Kyushu Electric to suspend nuke plant via Reuters

A local Japanese governor on Friday asked Kyushu Electric Power to temporarily suspend the Sendai nuclear plant, one of two operating in the nation, further clouding efforts by the government and utilities to restart more idled reactors.

Anti-nuclear advocate Satoshi Mitazono, who was elected governor of Kagoshima prefecture last month, called on Kyushu Electric to re-examine safety and safety measures at its facility in southwestern Japan, raising concerns about a series of strong quakes that struck neighboring Kumamoto in April.

The request was expected as Mitazono, a former journalist, had said he wanted the temporary shutdown amid heightened concerns from local residents about safety and evacuation plans.

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Only three reactors are online in Japan: two at Kyushu Electric’s Sendai plant and one at Shikoku Electric Power’s Ikata station. Utilities have struggled to get nuclear units running again in the face of a skeptical public after shutting them all down following the Fukushima disaster of 2011.

Sendai’s reactors are already schedule to be stopped for maintenance this year, one in October and one in December. Reactors in Japan are required to be shut for servicing after 13 months of commercial operation.

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