Japan’s nuclear regulator cleared another pair of reactors on the southernmost island of Kyushu for restart despite a growing chorus of opponents who object to any resumption of nuclear operations. The Nuclear Regulation Authority approved a preliminary report on Wednesday that says Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai Nos. 3 and 4 reactors in Saga Prefecture meet post-Fukushima safety rules, one of the biggest hurdles an operator must clear. A 30-day comment period must be held before any final approval. Genkai’s approval is another small step for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has backed a policy of restarting the nation’s reactors to lower electricity rates, shore up the economy and boost global competitiveness. However, the looming threat of legal action and local opposition has put the fate of the entire restart process in doubt. Japan aims to have nuclear power account for as much as 22 percent of its energy mix by 2030, compared with more than a quarter before Fukushima and a little more than 1 percent now.
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