The volcanic eruption of Japan’s Mt. Ontake over the weekend may strengthen the argument of activists campaigning to keep the country’s 48 reactors shut. Japan’s atomic plants are off-line for safety checks as a result of the earthquake and tsunami that caused the meltdown of three reactors in Fukushima more than three years ago. The Nuclear Regulation Authority has said two reactors at a plant run by Kyushu Electric Power Co. (9508) in southern Japan meet new safety standards, indicating they are closest to restarting. Kyushu Electric’s plant, known as Sendai, is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from another active volcano called Sakurajima. It’s also not far from a cluster of calderas, volcanic craters caused by past eruptions. “The NRA has been criticized for not taking the elevated risk of volcanic eruption into account,” Stephen Church, a Tokyo-based partner at equity researcher JI Asia, said in a note yesterday. […]