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A Japanese utility flipped the switch on a nuclear reactor last week, which was the latest nuke to come back in service despite deep public opposition in the aftermath of the Fukushima crisis.

Japan shut down all of its reactors after a powerful earthquake in March 2011 spawned a huge tsunami that led to meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing the world’s worst such accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

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But only a handful of reactors have come back online due to public opposition and as legal cases work their way through the courts.

On Wednesday, Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO) restarted the No 4 reactor at the Takahama nuclear plant after a court in March cleared the move.

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The latest restart at the plant in Fukui prefecture, 215 miles west of Tokyo, came after court battles that lasted over a year during which a district court near Fukui ordered KEPCO to suspend operations.

“We will… carefully continue our work with discipline and regard safety as the priority.”
— Shigeki Iwane, KEPCO president

The Fukui government, where the nuclear industry is a major employer, approved the reactor’s restart but concerned residents in neighboring Shiga prefecture asked their local court to stop the move.

The region’s appeals court in Osaka ruled in March KEPCO could restart two of the four reactors at Takahama.

Shigeki Iwane, KEPCO president, announced the restart in a statement: “We will… carefully continue our work with discipline and regard safety as the priority.”

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