Some nuclear electric power reactors in Japan could be back online as early as May, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, almost all of Japan’s nuclear electric power fleet was shut down; in 2014 Japan’s nuclear generation was zero. But now, Japan has received approval from its Nuclear Regulatory Agency (NRA) and local authorities to restart some of its nuclear reactors.

The NRA approved Kyushu Electric’s Sendai Units 1 and 2, as well as Kansai Electric’s Takahama Units 3 and 4 at the end of 2014—the latter is still waiting for approval from the local government.

The timelines for restarting these units and other power reactors with applications currently pending before the NRA are uncertain in the face of more stringent regulations and in some areas, political opposition.

Prior to the March 2011 disaster and the events that unfolded at Fukushima, Japan was the third largest nuclear power generator in the world, behind the U.S. and France. In 2010, nuclear generation represented 27% of Japan’s net generation.

According to the EIA, the current Japanese government believes that the use of nuclear energy is necessary to help reduce current energy supply strains and alleviate high electricity prices.

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