TOKYO (AP) - Japan's government on today approved bringing the country's first nuclear reactors back online since last year's earthquake and tsunami led to a shutdown of reactors nationwide.
Despite lingering safety concerns, the restart could speed the resumption of operations at more reactors across the country. The decision paves the way for a power company in western Japan to immediately begin work to restart two reactors in Ohi town, a process that is expected to take several weeks.
All of Japan's 50 nuclear reactors are now offline for maintenance or safety checks. Public opposition to the resumption of nuclear operations remains high because of the crisis the tsunami touched off at Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.
The restart is being closely watched as an indicator of how aggressively the government will act to approve operations at other reactors.