A nuclear power plant (NPP) damaged in the 2011, earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan is set to come back online after the governor of Miyagi Prefecture gave his thumbs up on the resumption of operations Wednesday.

The Onagawa complex in Miyagi is home to three nuclear reactors operating in much the same energy producing format as those that made global headlines in Fukushima in March 2011, when a huge 13 metre tsunami hit along much of the Pacific north coast of Japan.

In the wake of the influx of water caused by the tsunami, the underground floors of the Onagawa No.2 unit were flooded, but whilst no meltdown occurred as happened at half of the six reactors in the Fukushima plant, the reactor was shut down immediately.

In the years since, Tohoku Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has built an 800 metre long seawall to better protect the plant and will, sources indicate, plan to bring the No.2 reactor at Onagawa fully online some time in 2022.

The formal announcement by the prefectural governor, Yoshihiro Murai, is anticipated by the end of the year, making Miyagi the first prefecture in the disaster area to permit the restarting of operations at a nuclear reactor.

“When the plenary session shows its stance, I will make a decision upon hearing the opinions of mayors of cities, towns and villages within the prefecture,” Murai said, essentially going through the motions as full cooperation is anticipated.

At a lower local level the mayor of Ishinomaki, one of the worst affected areas in 2011, and in part, site of the Onagawa plant, has already given the thumbs up to the restart.

When it does restart, the Onagawa reactor will become the 10th of 54 reactors once operational throughout Japan to have come back online in the wake of the 2011, disaster.


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