Aug 11, 2015 06:00 AM EDT

Following Fukushima Tsunami Disaster, Japan To Revive Nuclear Power Plant Despite Public Protests

More than four years after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and a massive tsunami ravaged Japan, an energy firm has revived the Sendai nuclear power plant.

According to Kyushu Electric Power, the plant's reactor number one is already operational, Bloomberg reported. It will serve as the country's first step toward producing nuclear energy following the disaster that led to the destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in March 11, 2011.

During that time, a strong earthquake and tsunami caused a series of meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. This then led to the shutdown of the country's other plants including the Sendai facility, which is located in the Kagoshima Prefecture.

Since then, the country has been relying on fossil fuels from other countries to supply its own energy needs. With the Sendai plant now operational, the company can focus on producing renewable energy while cutting down import costs and carbon dioxide emissions.

Aside from this, due to the shutdown of its nuclear power plants in 2011, Japan was left with over 40 tons of plutonium, CBC has learned. In order to consume these and successfully revive the country's energy program, Japan needs to revive at least 18 nuclear power plants.

Despite the benefits of having renewable energy, the proposal to revive the country's nuclear power program was heavily criticized by the public. The protesters, which included residents who are living near the Sendai nuclear power plant, argued that the same disaster that occurred in 2011 might happen again.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured the public that Kyushu Electric Power will follow Nuclear Regulation Authority's strict safety rules and guidelines regarding the operation of the Sendai power plants.

"Our policy is to push forward restarts of reactors that cleared the world's toughest safety screening by the Nuclear Regulation Auhority," Abe said in a press briefing. "I would like Kyushu Electric to put safety first and take utmost precautions for the restart."

As part of the safety procedures, the administration and the energy company have erected stronger and higher walls to protect the plant's reactors from tsunamis, according to Engadget.

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