The mayor of the town of Takahama in Fukui Prefecture granted permission Monday for the restart of the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Takahama Nuclear Power Plant, becoming the first local leader in the nation to approve use of nuclear reactors more than 40 years old. The Takahama No. 1 reactor is 46 years old and the No. 2 reactor is 45.

Kepco will now seek restart approval from the prefectural government. But with questions still unanswered about where spent fuel generated by the reactors will be stored, it is unclear whether the utility’s plans to have both reactors online this spring can be realized.

Monday’s formal approval came after Takahama Mayor Yutaka Nose called on the central government, in an online meeting Friday with industry minister Hiroshi Kajiyama, to provide assistance to the town and received assurance that it would. Kajiyama said the government wanted to provide the maximum amount of support possible, and was aligned with what Takahama was seeking in terms of a local revitalization policy.