SENDAI - A nuclear reactor in northeastern Japan damaged by the 2011 earthquake-tsunami disaster is all but certain to resume operations as the governor of the prefecture hosting the facility has decided to give consent to its targeted restart in 2022, local officials said Wednesday.
Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai made the decision on Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s plan to reboot the No. 2 unit of its Onagawa nuclear plant in the prefecture and will formally announce his consent by the end of the year, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
By doing so, he would be the first governor of a disaster-hit prefecture to give the green light to the restart of a nuclear reactor.
He has come to believe residents will support his stance as the prefectural assembly adopted a plea seeking his consent at a panel meeting Tuesday and is set to approve it at a plenary session next week.
"When the plenary session shows its stance, I will make a decision upon hearing opinions of mayors of cities, towns and villages within the prefecture," Murai said.
Tohoku Electric aims to restart the reactor in 2022 at the earliest, after completing anti-disaster work such as the construction of an 800-meter-long seawall at the plant.
The reactor cleared a national safety screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority in February, becoming the second disaster-damaged reactor to pass stricter safety standards after the Fukushima nuclear crisis -- the worst since the 1986 Chernobyl accident.