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Hokuriku Electric Power Co. got government approval Friday to restart a nuclear reactor in Ishikawa Prefecture two years after it was ordered to shut the unit for covering up safety breaches.

The plant may resume output as soon as Monday, company spokesman Hideki Nakano said by phone from Tokyo. The government ordered the closure of the 540-megawatt Shika No. 1 reactor in March 2007 after learning the utility, with more than 2 million customers, didn’t disclose a “critical accident” in June 1999.

The coverup came to light when the government’s nuclear safety agency demanded that utilities reveal any unreported breaches to allay public concerns as Japan, already the world’s third-biggest nuclear generator, sought to build more reactors.

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