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Japan bids for early return to nuclear energy

As safety checks continue in the wake of disaster last year, Japan has an ambitious plan to get its controversial nuclear program up and running. The new government announced Friday that it hopes to complete safety checks and determine whether to restart all reactors within three years. All but two of Japan's 50 reactors remain shut down after a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami resulted in one of the worst nuclear disasters in history at the Fukushima Daiichi station. The minister in charge of energy says the government will follow the Nuclear Regulation Authority's recommendations about which reactors to restart. But the agency's chairman said Friday that the three-year deadline is impossible to meet. As part of its inspections, the authority is determining which plants sit on active faultlines vulnerable to earthquakes. Last year's meltdown has prompted large protests as reactors are restarted, giving momentum to the movement to scrap Japan's nuclear energy program altogether.

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