Japan on Wednesday approved the full resumption of commercial operations of an atomic reactor for the first time since the March 11 quake and tsunami, which sparked the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
Hokkaido Electric Power Co. restarted commercial operations at the Tomari plant's reactor No.3, soon after receiving official approval on Wednesday, according to Japanese Jiji Press.
About three quarters of Japan's 54 reactors suspended operation, mostly for regular safety checks, and many host communities have been reluctant to approve their restarts for anti-nuclear concerns.
The No. 3 reactor is already generating electricity at full capacity under an "adjustment operation" in the final phase of the checkup, so there will be effectively no difference in terms of electricity output when it shifts to commercial operation, according to Kyodo news.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered a radiation crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The leaks of radiation, evacuation of residents near the plant and contamination of food and seawater weakened public confidence in the safety of nuclear power.