And then there were none – Japanese nukes all shut down

May 04, 2012
Japan will shut down its last nuclear reactor shortly before midnight on Saturday, the first time since July 1966 that the country has been without atomic energy feeding into the national grid.

The No. 3 reactor at the Tomari nuclear plant, on the northern island of Hokkaido, will be shut down for a regular safety inspection, the operator said.

The national government has warned that major cities, including Tokyo and Osaka, face blackouts during the months of peak energy demand – in Japan's notoriously hot and muggy summer – unless local authorities grant permission for utilities to restart at least some of the country's 54 reactors.

Nuclear power previously provided fully one-third of Japan's energy. But public opinion has turned fiercely against nuclear power since the Great East Japan Earthquake and the massive tsunami that it triggered which destroyed the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.