Japan's Second-to-Last Nuclear Plant Shuts Down - Nation Will Be Nuclear Free By May

Surian Soosay/CC BY 2.0

Another casualty of the Fukushima nuclear disaster: Japan's nuclear power industry as a whole. The Tokyo Electric Power Company has closed the final reactor of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, leaving just one operational facility in the entire country.

This final reactor, on the northern island of Hokkaido and the 54th in Japan, is scheduled to be shut down in May for maintenance and is not expected to be restarted. Only if local support exists to restart the reactor will it come back online, BBC News reports.

Since the Fukushima disaster and resultant nuclear shut down, Japan has faced the problem of avoiding power supply problems during times of peak demand, especially the summer. Last year large companies were ordered to reduce their power consumption by 15%. Older non-nuclear power plants have been temporarily brought back online, with fossil fuel imports rising.

TEPCO's president issued the follow statement to its electricity customers:

As for the electricity supply and demand in the foreseeable future, we expect to maintain stable supply. However, we ask that you continue to make a reasonable effort to save electricity. In addition, while we have been carefully reviewing this summer's electricity supply and demand, the shut down of Unit 6 [the final reactor at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa] will result in a significant reduction in our electricity supply capacity. We will continue to make efforts to maintain stable operations and maintenance of the power facilities in order to secure stable power supply.

Tags: Japan | Nuclear Power