A Japanese power company restarted a nuclear reactor on Tuesday, the first one to come back online under new safety regulations put in place following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Kyushu Electric Power Co. said it expects the reactor at its Sendai facility to be generating power by Friday and be at full capacity by next month.
Japan's nuclear facilities have been shut down for two years to undergo safety checks. The government wants to bring nuclear power generation back up to producing more than 20 percent of the country's electricity by 2030, but has had to rely on imported fossil fuels while the nuclear facilities were offline.
The majority of the Japanese public opposes bringing the reactors back into service.
Several hundred protesters gathered at the Sendai site Tuesday to express their displeasure, including former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who was in office during the Fukushima meltdown.
"We cannot predict accidents, that is why accidents happen," Kan said. "And here all of the necessary precautions to prevent an accident have not been taken."
The Fukushima disaster began with a massive earthquake and tsunami that damaged the nuclear plant and triggered meltdowns at the plant. The disaster forced more than 100,000 people from their homes.