Germany is now going to look foolish if it persists with its nuclear shutdown. The only tsunami in Germany was a tsunami of hysteria

Japan moved closer to restarting nuclear reactors for the first time since last year’s earthquake and tsunami led to a nationwide shutdown after a mayor gave his support Thursday to bringing two of them back online.

All 50 of Japan’s workable reactors are offline because of safety concerns or for maintenance since the March 11, 2011, disaster caused radiation leaks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. Public opposition to nuclear power remains high, even though the government has been pressing for the restart of reactors because it says nuclear energy is crucial to Japan’s economy.

Power companies have warned of looming shortages, as demand reaches its summer peak.

Work to restart two reactors in the western town of Ohi, which are the first ready to resume generating power, could begin as soon as this weekend now that the mayor signed off on the plan. Once the work begins, it takes about three weeks to get a reactor operating at full capacity.

The governor of Fukui, the prefecture (state) in which Ohi is located, now has to meet with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to inform him that the local governments are willing to accept the restart plan. The prime minister has to give final approval, which Japanese media reports said will likely happen Saturday.

With the high-demand summer months looming, Noda announced last week that he wants to restart Ohi’s reactors as soon as possible. He also said he wants to move forward with the restart of other plants as soon as their safety is confirmed.

Before last year’s crisis, Japan depended on nuclear for about one-third of its electricity and was planning to expand that further. The government is now carrying out a sweeping review of that plan.

Noda said the government has taken ample measures to ensure the two reactors in Fukui prefecture would not leak radiation if an earthquake or tsunami as severe as last year’s should strike them.

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