Japan down to last operational nuclear reactor
Another Japanese nuclear reactor was taken off line for maintenance yesterday, leaving the country with only one of its 54 reactors operational following last year's devastating earthquake and tsunami.
The last reactor is expected to be shut down by early May, increasing the chances of power shortages across the nation as demand increases in the hot summer months.
The No 6 reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa complex was taken off line early yesterday by the Tokyo Electric Power Company. The utility also runs the plant in Fukushima, north-east of Tokyo, that suffered meltdowns, explosions and radiation leaks after the devastating earthquake and tsunami on 11 March last year. Japanese reactors are taken off line every 13 months for regular checks. With concerns over nuclear safety high, none of the reactors that have been shut down for checks, and none that were already off-line at the time of the disaster, has been allowed to restart.
The last reactor, on the northern island of Hokkaido, will be shut down in May. The timing for when any reactors will be restarted remains unclear.
Before the crisis, Japan depended on nuclear power for one-third of its electricity. The government wants to restart reactors as soon as "stress tests" prove they are safe but local leaders, fearing a political backlash, are reluctant to give their approval.
The, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, has promised to reduce Japan's reliance on nuclear power.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
Emergency landing at Heathrow sparks further controversy over London airport capacity
Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
Men arrested after RAF jet is scrambled to escort Pakistan Airlines passenger plane to London Stansted Airport
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 3 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.