Japan regulator grants safety approval to Chugoku Elec's reactor restart

TOKYO, June 24 (Reuters) - Japan's nuclear regulator has given initial safety approval for Chugoku Electric Power Co Inc's (9504.T) No.2 reactor at its Shimane nuclear power station in Matsue, western Japan, which has been shut since 2012.

The "effective" approval for the restart was made on Wednesday at a meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), an official at the NRA's licensing division said on Thursday.

The approval followed the restart of the 44-year-old No.3 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co Inc's (9503.T) Mihama station in western Japan on Wednesday. read more

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The formal safety approval for the Shimane No.2 reactor will come after a public comment period and other procedures.

The restart will also require consent from communities in the area such as Matsue city and Shimane prefecture.

Chugoku Electric plans to finish safety work under new regulatory standards by the end of next March, a company spokesman said.

The company applied for safety approval in December 2013, but it took a long time for screening due to a shortage of NRA's staffing and various structural safety issues including length of faults, amount of volcanic ash and strength of seawall to be cleared, the NRA official said.

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Reporting by Yuka Obayashi

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