Japan idled reactors could restart after stress test 1st stage

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 10, 2011 10:23 PM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's idled nuclear reactors could resume operations after passing the initial stage of stress tests to be conducted to ensure safety and reassure the public after the Fukushima disaster, the government said on Monday.

Japanese utilities are now operating only 19 of the country's 54 reactors, with many down for regular maintenance and local governments reluctant to approve restarts due to safety concerns.

The government had been pushing for early restarts of facilities that have completed regular checks to avoid a power crunch, but the outlook was thrown into confusion when Prime Minister Naoto Kan abruptly called for the stress tests last week.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by Linda Sieg; Editing by Edmund Klamann)