Nuclear reactor restarts in Japan could be begin as soon as May at Kyushu Electric's Sendai Units 1 and 2 in southwestern Japan, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday.
The Sendai units received government and Nuclear Regulatory Authority restart approval in November 2014.
Japan had been one of the world's largest producers of nuclear-generated electricity. But the country's nuclear industry has been disrupted for nearly four years, ever since the 9.0-magnitude Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that occurred off the northeast coast of Japan in March 2011. Japan has relied heavily on imported fossil fuels after the meltdown at Fukushima. The disaster shut down the country's entire nuclear capability.
Japan has seen an increase of $270 billion in fossil fuel import spending in just over three years. Such spending has created a widening trade deficit for the country and a rise in electricity prices by at least 20 percent.
The Japanese government strongly advocates for the use of nuclear energy in order to successfully reduce these current energy supply strains and high electricity prices. Although the plan has yet to provide details of the country's future power generation, Japan's 2014 energy policy emphasizes energy security, economic efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.