• Kyodo

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The city of Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, lifted a suspension order on one of seven reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power station Tuesday, about 1 1/2 years after they were shut down by a major earthquake.

The Sea of Japan coastal city has confirmed that peripheral facilities of the plant’s No. 7 reactor, including fire-extinguishing equipment, are operational.

The municipality plans to lift a similar suspension order on the remaining reactors as soon as they are deemed safe.

Tepco plans to finish on Wednesday all functional tests on the No. 7 reactor that can be conducted while it is shut down. It will then power up the reactor on a trial basis.

The central government is expected to approve the move, but it is uncertain whether municipalities in the area, including the Niigata Prefectural Government, will accept it.

Niigata Gov. Hirohiko Izumida asked Tepco on Monday to obtain consent from other municipalities on the reactor restart, saying powering it up will lead to full operation.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, the world’s largest nuclear power complex in terms of output, automatically shut down when a magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck offshore on July 16, 2007.

The quake caused a fire in an electrical transformer in the nonreactor area and a tiny leak of radioactive water into the sea.

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