At the stroke of midnight on April 19, Japan's nuclear reactor count will officially drop from 54 to 50, as the ruined No. 1-4 reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will be formally retired.
Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) submitted the decommissioning paperwork to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry at the end of March this year, and the necessary legal procedures have been progressing quietly ever since. While the operational lives of the shattered reactors may be officially over, however, they continue to be the source of significant problems, as well as of a serious threat to the lives and livelihoods of many across Japan.
The load is particularly heavy on those who have been literally dislocated by the March 2011 meltdowns, forced from their homes by radioactive contamination, such as the people of Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture. Read More