Photo by Issei Kato/AFP/Getty Images.
On Saturday, Japan begins to shut down its last nuclear reactor, leaving the country without nuclear power for the first time since 1966.
As the Washington Post reports, one third of Japan's energy supply came from nuclear reactors before the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi last year. But since that incident, local officials have refused to give the needed consensus for a recommittal to nuclear power, citing safety concerns. The country's central government is eager to get reactors back online but have been unable to move forward without local approval.
17 of Japan's 54 nuclear reactors in operation before March 11, 2011, were damaged or otherwise forced to shut down after last year's earthquake and tsunami, the Post says. Japan has increased imports of more expensive power sources to make up for the energy shortage, as the BBC reports.
The Post explains that, facing a power shortage heading into the summer, a push is underway to restart two nuclear reactors. But a deep distrust of the safety of nuclear power in the country has slowed or stalled most efforts to bring reactors back online. The reactors have been through a series of stress tests to check their resistance to disasters.