The Nuclear Regulation Authority gave the go-ahead on Wednesday for the restart of a nuclear power station, the first step to reopening an industry that was mothballed after the Fukushima disaster and which may involve the closure of a dozen old plants.

The NRA said Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s two-reactor Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture could restart, although that still hinges on the approval of local authorities.

Japan is nearing the end of its first full year without nuclear power since 1966 and public mistrust of the sector remains high after the 2011 Fukushima triple meltdown, the worst such disaster since Chernobyl.