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*end Japan's nuclear nightmare

How Fukushima is leading towards a nuclear-free Japan

Tokyo hopes to restart some reactors, but hardening public attitudes may rule out even modest return to nuclear power

Source:  Copyright 2012, Guardian
Date:  March 9, 2012
Byline:  Justin McCurry
Original URL: Status ONLINE

The Fukushima accident will achieve in the next few months what has eluded campaigners for decades: the closure of every one of Japan's nuclear reactors.

The closures, prompted by the meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant a year ago, have continued as more reactors are taken offline for inspections. All must pass recently introduced two-stage "stress tests" and win local approval before they can be restarted.

If, as expected, the last two working reactors are shut down for maintenance by the spring, Japan will be left without nuclear-generated power during the sweltering summer months, when electricity demand peaks.

The question is when, or if, the reactors will restart amid a hardening of public attitudes towards nuclear energy in the aftermath of Fukushima, and a new enthusiasm for investment in renewable energy.

Japan lost its most prominent anti-nuclear activist last summer with the resignation of Naoto Kan, the ...

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