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TOKYO, Dec 17 AFP

December 17 2012, 2:28PM

Fukushima operator TEPCO's shares soared almost 33 per cent Monday, leading a rally in energy firms after a conservative election win likely to mean any short-term plans to ditch atomic power will be shelved.

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) rocketed 32.89 per cent to 202 yen by the break, Chubu Electric Power jumped 7.56 per cent to 1,166 yen and Kansai Electric was up 13.68 per cent at 889 yen.

The huge surge on the Tokyo Stock Exchange came after voters on Sunday dumped Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

The ruling DPJ had vowed earlier this year to ditch nuclear power by 2040, bowing to public pressure as thousands gathered to protest outside Noda's official residence.

But it quickly backpedalled on that pledge with a more vague promise to work towards a nuclear-free country.

The business friendly Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe derided the zero-nuclear goal as unrealistic and "irresponsible" -- and hinted at keeping atomic power.

The party said it would decide on reactor restarts in three years and the nation's "best energy mix" within a decade.

His opponents say the LDP's cosy attitude to regulation was a big factor in the lax supervision that worsened the disaster at Fukushima, which saw a quake-sparked tsunami slam into the plant, swamping its cooling systems and sending reactors into meltdown.

The elections spawned a group of small anti-nuclear parties but they had little impact at the polling booth.