But Sunday's vote comes as a rising tide of anti-atomic sentiment is forcing an energy policy rethink, putting the fate of a power source that once generated about one-third of Japan's electricity in doubt.
All but two of the nation's 50 reactors now sit idle, switched off after a quake-triggered tsunami slammed into the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March last year, setting off the worst nuclear accident in a generation.
"Restarting (nuclear plants) is absolutely unthinkable," said Hajime Kemuriyama, a Fukushima city resident.
"We are still suffering from the impact of radiation. I want politicians to address our daily problems."
Kemuriyama's view is a typical one in Japan, with recent opinion polls suggesting about 70% of the electorate want atomic power phased out.
Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power's recent admission that it knowingly played down the risks to the plant before the tsunami disaster added to a feeling that Japan had been duped by a powerful industry in league with its regulator.
An expert declaration earlier this week that one plant sits on a seismic fault which may still be geologically active, has further underlined apprehensiveness in the quake-prone country.