26 Mar 2012

Another nuclear reactor shut down in Japan

10:38 pm on 26 March 2012

Japan has shut down another nuclear power station, bringing it a step closer to abandoning atomic energy for the time being, following the Fukushima disaster.

Just one of the country's 54 nuclear reactors remains in operation and it is due to be switched off in May, reports the BBC.

Local communities have refused to allow reactors to be turned back on after routine maintenance, because of safety fears.

A tsunami in March 2011 triggered the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdowns.

The No 6 unit at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station in Niiagata prefecture has been taken offline by the Tokyo Electric Power Co for maintenance, leaving only the nuclear reactor on the island of Hokkaido in operation, says the BBC.

Before the Fukushima disaster, nearly a third of Japan's electricity was generated with nuclear power.

But the six-reactor Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, with blasts occurring at four reactors after the cooling systems went offline.