Japan is switching off its last working nuclear reactor – at the Tomari plant, in Hokkaido – as part of the safety drive since the March 2011 tsunami that triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima plant.
Since the Fukushima disaster, all the country’s reactors have been shut down, one by one, for “routine maintenance”. They must withstand tests against earthquakes and tsunamis, and local authorities must give their consent in order for plants to restart. So far, none have.
That leaves Japan without energy from atomic power for the first time since 1970. Until last year, Japan got 30% of its power from nuclear energy.
Severe power shortages are expected as summer looms. It’ll be interesting to see if the Japanese can coup with the problem – with extra import on oil-and-gas, plus rationing etc. The public will stand even firmer against the reopening of the reactors if they manage to live on without nuclear power in coming months.