Japan's prime minister is set to defy fierce public sentiment this weekend and order nuclear reactors back online for the first time since Fukushima, as he seeks to head off a summer energy crunch.
Yoshihiko Noda is expected to tell Kansai Electric Power (KEPCO) to re-fire two idled reactors at its Oi plant serving the industrial heartland of western Japan.
The controversial move comes amid fears that electricity demand will outstrip supply as temperatures soar and air-conditioners get cranked up, further crimping Japan's wobbly economic recovery. Noda is due Saturday to meet Issei Nishikawa, the pro-nuclear power governor of central Fukui prefecture, which hosts the plant. Nishikawa is widely expected to tell the prime minister he is ready to accept the restarts after he received safety assurances Friday from the operator.
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