The Abe administration is pushing to restart idled nuclear power plants that have cleared safety screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, pending the consent of local municipalities. But the definition of “local” and whose consent is required remains a question that must be addressed as Kansai Electric Power Co. moves to bring its Takahama Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture back online. This case will test whether the government and power companies are ready to listen to the safety concerns of people who could be affected by a nuclear disaster.

The NRA said last week that safety measures taken by Kansai Electric at reactors Nos. 3 and 4 of the Takahama plant against potential natural disaster hazards and severe accidents meet the regulations tightened in the wake of the March 2011 triple meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The NRA’s draft assessment — likely to be formalized a month later after soliciting public comments — and some additional procedures will allow the utility firm to go ahead with reactivating the two reactors once it obtains “local” consent.

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