Monday, May 7, 2012

Anxious Japan prepares for life without nuclear power

Japan has 54 nuclear reactors, but as of Saturday, not one of them will be in operation – how will the country cope?

This weekend Japan will begin a bold experiment in energy use that no one had thought possible – until the Fukushima Daiichi power plant suffered a triple meltdown just over a year ago.

On Saturday, when the Hokkaido electric power company shuts down the No3 reactor at its Tomari plant for maintenance, the world's third-largest economy will be without a single working nuclear reactor for the first time for almost 50 years.

The closure of the last of Japan's 54 reactors marks a dramatic shift in energy policy, but while campaigners prepare to celebrate, the nationwide nuclear blackout comes with significant economic and environmental risks attached.

The crisis at Fukushima sparked by last year's deadly earthquake and tsunami forced Japan into a fundamental rethink of its relationship with nuclear power. Read More