It is the first approval from Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) since the Fukushima incident in 2011, which led to a meltdown of reactors following an earthquake and tsunami.
The NRA said two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, with a capacity of 1,356MW each, have passed safety standards that were put in place after the Fukushima incident.
However, the process to restart the reactors will include reviews and consultations with the public and it could take years before they re-enter operation.
Anti-nuclear campaigners have criticised the decision.
Hisayo Takada, Energy Project Lead at Greenpeace Japan said: “This attempt to restart reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa site is a last ditch effort to save TEPCO’s nuclear business. Powerful political and public opposition remains and means that these reactors will not restart for at least the next several years.
“TEPCO should abandon its futile efforts to restart seismically vulnerable reactors and instead focus on dealing with the ongoing nuclear crisis at Fukushima Daiichi.”