"Japan Switches Off Last Nuclear Power Plant; Will It Cope?"

"Japan shuts down its last working nuclear power reactor this weekend just over a year after a tsunami scarred the nation and if it survives the summer without major electricity shortages, producers fear the plants will stay offline for good."

"The shutdown leaves Japan without nuclear power for the first time since 1970 and has put electricity producers on the defensive. Public opposition to nuclear power could become more deeply entrenched if non-nuclear generation proves enough to meet Japan's needs in the peak-demand summer months.

"Can it be the end of nuclear power? It could be," said Andrew DeWit, a professor at Rikkyo University in Tokyo who studies energy policy. "That's one reason why people are fighting it to the death."

Japan managed to get through the summer last year without any blackouts by imposing curbs on use in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami. Factories operated at night and during weekends to avoid putting too much stress on the country's power grids. A similar success this year would weaken the argument of proponents of nuclear power."

Aaron Sheldrick reports for Reuters May 4, 2012.


"Anxious Japan Prepares for Life Without Nuclear Power" (Guardian)

"Japan’s Last Reactor To Shut Down, Leaving Country Nuclear-Free for First Time Since 1966" (Washington Post)

Source: Reuters, 05/04/2012