FUKUI--Kansai Electric Power Co. has cleared all hurdles toward restarting two reactors at its Oi nuclear power plant early next year after gaining the consent of the prefectural governor here Nov. 27.

The utility plans to resume operations of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in January and March, respectively.

“I have agreed to the restart after taking into account the position of the Oi town government and Fukui prefectural assembly, as well as the response by the central government and the operator of the plant concerning our request to have an interim storage site for spent nuclear fuel to be built outside the prefecture,” Governor Issei Nishikawa told reporters here the same day.

Nishikawa signed off on Kansai Electric's request following similar moves by the town government of Oi, which hosts the Oi nuclear plant, the town assembly and the prefectural assembly.

In response to the governor’s request concerning the storage site, Shigeki Iwane, president of Kansai Electric, has already pledged to offer a proposed alternative site next year.

Industry minister Hiroshige Seko, too, vowed that the central government will be involved in drawing up the plan.

Nishikawa pushed for the construction of the interim storage facility outside the prefecture as a condition to agreeing to the restart of the Oi plant.

Five reactors are now operating in Japan after clearing new nuclear regulations established in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Two of the reactors are at Kansai Electric’s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The Fukui District Court, citing safety concerns, ordered a halt to the operations of Oi’s No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in May 2014.

But Kansai Electric appealed the decision and has since been gearing up to restart the units.