Tokyo — The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant cleared a major regulatory hurdle on Wednesday to restart two reactors in Japan, its first since the 2011 tsunami sparked the worst atomic accident in decades. The Nuclear Regulation Authority gave Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) preliminary approval to restart the two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, one of the world’s biggest and the largest in Japan. The plant, in the prefecture of Niigata in central Japan, has been idle since the disaster — as have been many other nuclear power plants in Japan. Triggered by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake in March 2011, a massive tsunami overwhelmed reactor cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan. It caused reactor meltdowns, releasing radiation in the most dangerous nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. On Wednesday, Tepco won safety approval as the authority judged the two reactors meet the stricter safety standards introduced after the disaster. ...

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