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Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster all but two of Japan’s 50 existing reactors were closed for safety checks. Once receiving the all clear from the new regulator they could only be restarted with the approval of residents local to the site of the nuclear power plant.
Generally the public are against nuclear power. Their opinion has been turned to fear by the events at the Fukushima power plant and the anxiety that it could happen again. Many have petitioned for the drastic reduction or complete end to all nuclear power across Japan.
The previous government actually voted to shut down the entire nuclear industry step by step over the next few decades. However since the elections in December the new government, led by Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, have shown support for the nuclear industry.
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Yet despite general public opposition, and as evidence of the difficulties that rural communities (where most of the nuclear power plants are located, and which heavily rely on the employment provided by the power plants) are facing in the current economic climate, 54% of residents local to a reactor said that they would allow it to be restarted if the government could guarantee its safety. Only 18% said that they would not allow the reactor to be restarted, and 28% did not make a decision.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com