So Japan finally switched off the last of its 54 nuclear reactors yesterday, with technicians shutting down the No. 3 unit at Tomari, Hokkaido at 11:03pm last night.
Power generation at the plant was suspended for mandatory maintenance and the reactor is being brought to a cold shut-down, this is the first time since the 1970s that Japan has been without nuclear power, which generated almost 30% of the country’s electricity prior the meltdowns at Fukushima.
Of course, Japan is not grinding to a halt without nuclear energy. Much of the capacity that has been lost has been replaced by importing fossil fuels to generate thermal power (not the best move for a country drowning in debt). After Japan overcame its horror of atomic power from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in the mid 1950’s, the country became an ardent fan. Before last March, it was planning to generate half its electricity from nuclear sources by 2030. The switch-off marks the death of such ambitions.
Opinion polls suggest that the public’s unwillingness to restart the reactors represents a silent rebuke to the way the authorities have handled the crisis. However many expect opposition to the reactors to diminish in the heat of summer with supply expected to fall nearly 20% short of demand resulting in a second year in a row with the threat of blackouts.
In order to be fired up again, reactors must now pass International Atomic Energy Agency-approved stress tests and get the consent of their host communities, it is this last hurdle that is proving hardest to overcome.
So looks like I am headed to Japan just in time to bake in an air-conditioner free summer, how much will this affect Kobe well I don’t know but lets just say I expect this guy will get a fair workout 😄
Info Via http://www.economist.com/