Graphic shows status of Japan’s nuclear reactors.


Japan clears restart of nuclear reactor closest to 2011 quake epicentre

November 27, 2019 - Japan’s Tohoku Electric Power has won initial regulatory approval to restart a nuclear reactor at its Onagawa power plant – the closest reactor to the epicentre of the 2011 earthquake that caused the Fukushima disaster.

Tohoku Electric said in a statement it has received a first green light from Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority to restart the No. 2 reactor at Onagawa, subject to a public consultation period, Reuters said.

Onagawa was the closest among Japan’s nuclear plants to the epicentre of the magnitude-9 quake in March 2011, which triggered a tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people, as well as causing the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The station was swamped by the tsunami, but survived with its cooling system intact, saving its reactors from the threat of meltdowns similar to those that occurred at Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi station to the south.

Further approvals will be required before the restart, along with the consent of local authorities, which is not guaranteed.

The reactor is a boiling water reactor (BWR) with the same basic design as those that melted down in the Fukushima crisis.

PUBLISHED: 27/11/2019; STORY: Graphic News; PICTURES: Associated Press