June 16, 2012
The operator of the Ohi Power Plant in western Japan restarted one of its reactors late Sunday night, ending Japan’s temporary freeze on nuclear power for the first time since the Fukushima nuclear disaster 15 months ago, despite widespread protests.
Kansai Electric Power Company, also known as KEPCO, began removing control rods from reactor no. 3 at 9 p.m. local time, and hoped to achieve criticality, a sustained nuclear fission chain reaction, by early Monday morning. The reactor is expected to begin transmitting power Wednesday, and could be operating at capacity in a week.
The country has been without nuclear power since May when the last of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors was taken offline for scheduled maintenance.