Japan: No Nuclear Power for First Time in 40 Years

Nation's last reactor is shut down for time being
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2012 12:35 PM CDT
Japan: No Nuclear Power for First Time in 40 Years
No. 3 unit, right, of Tomari Nuclear Power Plant operated by Hokkaido Electric Power Co. is observed in Tomari, northern Japan, Saturday. It later went offline.   (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

Japan shut down the nation's last operating nuclear reactor today, and it's not clear when another one might be fired back up. The move means that the nation is without atomic power for the first time in more than 40 years, reports the New York Times. The government isn't happy and is warning about potential blackouts over the summer, but anti-nuke activists are thrilled in the wake of the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster.

"Today is a historic day," said one to a crowd in Tokyo, according to AP. "There are so many nuclear plants, but not a single one will be up and running today, and that's because of our efforts." Today's reactor, like the others before it, was shut down for routine maintenance. But new rules put into place since Fukushima require authorities to get the approval of local residents before turning reactors back on. Activists leading the push want stricter industry oversight and better safety tests before agreeing to do so. (More Japan stories.)

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