Japan shuts down second-to-last nuclear reactor

Tepco has announced the shutdown of the number six reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in northern Japan Weeks after the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, the country has shut down all but one of its nuclear power reactors, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) announced the shutdown of the number six reactor at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in northern Japan, which was scheduled for regular maintenance. The last nuclear reactor on the northern island of Hokkaido is slated to be undergo maintenance in early May.

However, the Japanese government has yet to decide whether to begin the restart of the country's substantial nuclear generating capacity, which has been largely idled since the Fukushima incident.

While activists have called for the permanent closure of these plants, utility operators and businesses have called on the government to allow at least a partial restart to help ensure grid stability. Nuclear power had previously accounted for 30 percent of Japan's electricity.

Despite the slowdown in Japan, Bloomberg reports that the nuclear energy sector has seen steady progress over the past year, with both India and the U.S. moving toward the addition of nuclear capacity.

PennEnergy's Research area offers reports on the global nuclear industry.

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