MAY 5, 2012 – JAPAN OFF NUCLEAR POWER

JAPAN NUCLEAR

JAPAN NUCLEARJapan is switching off its last working nuclear reactor, as part of the safety drive since the March 2011 tsunami triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima plant.

The third reactor at the Tomari plant, in Hokkaido prefecture, was shut down for routine maintenance. It left Japan without energy from atomic power for the first time for more than 40 years. Until last year, Japan got 30% of its power from nuclear energy.

Hundreds of people marched through Tokyo, waving banners to celebrate what they hope will be the end of nuclear power in Japan. Businesses have warned of severe consequences for manufacturing if no nuclear plants are allowed to re-start. In the meantime, Japan has increased its fossil fuel imports, with electricity companies pressing old power plants into service. If the country can get through the steamy summer without blackouts, calls to make the nuclear shutdown permanent will get louder.