Japan down to last nuclear reactor26. March 2012 | Industry & Suppliers | By: Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger
Japan's Tokyo Electric Power Company [Tepco] has shut down its last operating nuclear reactor. On Sunday, Tepco said it shut down the number six reactor at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant, the world's biggest nuclear power plant. Hokkaido Electric's reactor remains.
Since the Fukushima disaster, Japan's 54 reactors have been still, due to public safety concerns. Tepco owns 17 reactors and provides approximately 45 million people with electricity. All six Tepco reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant and the four at neighboring Fukushima Daini plant went offline after the natural disaster last year. At the Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant, three reactors are offline since July 2007 due to an earthquake and four are under maintenence. Tepco's latest plant status update can be checked here.
The last functioning reactor at Hokkaido Electric's Tomari number three will go offline May 5 for maintenance. The reactors that are going offline can only be allowed to restart should the government see fit and if there is enough support locally. Support for restart looks highly unlikely according to local media surveys.
Problems of electricity shortages in Japan have surfaced, especially in summer this year. "We are currently closely studying the summer power supply situation. We will do our utmost to operate in a stable way and maintain our facilities," announced Toshio Nishizawa, Tepco president. His complete message can be read here.
Greenpeace Japan's executive director Junichi Sato told the media in a statement, "Japan is practically nuclear free, and the impact on daily life is invisible."
Japan has temporarily restarted its old fossil fuel plants to avoid blackouts. The PV Expo 2012 in Japan has also shown a possible boom in photovoltaics in summer.
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