• SHARE

Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Friday reactivated the No. 6 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, making it the third reactor to come back on line after the utility closed all 17 of its reactors for safety checks and repairs amid scandal.

The move came a day after Fukushima Gov. Eisaku Sato gave the green light for the nation’s largest utility to restart the reactor and is expected to go a long way in reducing the gap between electricity supply and demand in the Tokyo metropolitan area this summer.

The reactor is scheduled to start generating electricity and supplying power to the greater Tokyo area on Sunday.

Speaking at a news conference earlier Friday, industry minister Takeo Hiranuma said the government wants Tepco to restart more of the reactors.

“It was a good development to decide to restart the No. 6 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, but we are still in a severe situation in terms of power supply, even if that reactor is restarted,” Hiranuma said.

Hiranuma, head of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, said his ministry will make further efforts to avert power shortages in the Kanto region.

“We will try to confirm the safety of reactors so that we will be able to restart as many of them as possible,” he said.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, a branch of METI, will send an official to the Fukushima power plant to monitor the restart procedure and ensure the facility’s safety, Hiranuma said.

All of Tepco’s reactors were shut down by the end of April following revelations last August it had falsified safety reports to cover up reactor faults.