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Japan’s Electric Power Resumes Nuclear Plant Construction

Japan’s Electric Power Development Co. announced Monday it has decided to resume construction of a nuclear plant in northern Aomori Prefecture, local media said.

Speaking in the town of Oma where the unfinished nuclear plant is located, Masayoshi Kitamura, President of the utility known as J-Power, said the company will go ahead with the work, but that the completion of the plant will be delayed for at least about 18 months from the initially planned November 2014, Japan’s leading news agency Kyodo reported.

The latest development came after the government decided to allow utilities to continue their work of building new reactors as long as they have already won the permission of authorities to do so.

The decision is seen as controversial as the government at the same time said it will seek to phase out atomic power generation in the 2030s.

The company began building the Oma plant in May 2008, but the construction has been suspended in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis last year.

Now J-Power will have to clear the safety standards the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the country’s new nuclear regulatory agency, is compiling so as to start operating the plant.

An advanced boiling water reactor is to be installed in the plant, with plans to use plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel, which contains plutonium extracted from spent fuel.

“The plant will be highly safe and reliable, using the most advanced technology,” the firm said in a statement.

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