Japan’s Hokkaido Electric gets approval on restarted reactor

Japan’s Hokkaido Electric Power Co won local backing on Wednesday for commercial operation of a nuclear reactor that has been operating in a grey zone, removing uncertainty over its status as Japan weighs the need for a steady supply of electricity against worries over the safety of atomic power.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns and radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co, shattering public confidence in nuclear power.

That has darkened the outlook for the restart of off-line reactors and raised the possibility that all of Japan’s 54 reactors could be shut down by May 2012.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s Hokkaido Elec gets approval for restarted reactor.