Shutdown of Japan’s Last Nuclear Reactor Raises Power Concerns
By Kanoko Matsuyama
Japan’s last operating nuclear reactor was halted for maintenance yesterday, leaving the country nuclear free for the first time since July 2012 and prompting concerns about power availability this winter.
Kansai Electric Power Co., which powers Japan’s second-biggest metropolitan area, halted the Number 4 reactor at its Ohi plant at 11 p.m. yesterday, according to a faxed statement. Ohi’s Number 3 reactor was idled earlier this month.
The Ohi reactors were the only to restart after the March 2011 tsunami swamped Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima facility in March 2011, causing a meltdown at the plant. Japan, which got about 30 percent of its electricity from nuclear power before the Fukushima disaster, now has all 50 of its operational reactors lying idle. The reactors will have to pass new safety standards before being restarted.
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