The nuclear power plant closest to Japan's capital has passed a regulator's requirements to go back online. But the prospect of a restart is unclear as the plant's operator needs consent from nearby municipalities.
The Tokai No.2 plant in Ibaraki Prefecture is about 110 kilometers from central Tokyo. The population within 30 kilometers of the facility is about 960,000 -- the most for any nuclear plant in the country.
In July, the Nuclear Regulation Authority finalized a draft assessment of the plant's meeting regulations introduced after the 2011 nuclear accident. It has since received opinions from the public.
Some say new measures, such as making electric cables more fire-resistant, are insufficient.
But the regulator deemed the measures appropriate and approved the assessment unanimously on Wednesday.
Fifteen reactors at 8 plants, including Tokai No.2, have cleared screening based on the regulations.
The plant still has to pass 2 more screenings to extend its 40-year-lifespan, which ends in November.
The facility is likely to clear the remaining checks before the deadline. But the operator needs consent from 6 municipalities before the plant can restart.