Two and a half years after the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, Japan is shutting down the last of its 50 nuclear reactors.
The reactor in Fukui Prefecture, run by Kansai Electric Power Co, is being shut down indefinitely for “maintenance and inspection”, according to RT News. While good news for anti-nuclear advocates and the understandably anti-nuclear Japanese public, Japan will at first be filling much of the energy gap left by the absence of nuclear power with fossil fuel-fired power.
As we’ve previously reported, Japan now has a fast growing renewable energy sector (especially solar power), and is also working to implement new levels of energy efficiency throughout the nation. Nuclear accounted for about 30% of Japan’s electricity generating capacity.
Despite public opinion being firmly against nuclear power after Fukushima, the shuttering of all nuclear plants may turn out to be a temporary measure. Some plant operators have recently applied to reopen under new safely regulations. However, Japan’s nuclear safety regulator is in no hurry to give new approvals. Nuclear safety is still of great concern in Japan, especially as there are ongoing concerns about ground water contamination and leaks from water storage tanks at the Fukushima nuclear power plant site.