Only one-third of nuclear reactors in Japan may come back online

After Japan closed all of its nuclear reactors, only one-third may be deemed safe to come back online, Reuters reported.

After Japan closed all of its nuclear reactors, only one-third may be deemed safe to come back online, Reuters reported. Analysis from the news source reveals that under new safety standards and the current sociopolitical climate only between a third and two-thirds of Japan's nuclear power reactors are expected to be allowed to operate again.

The 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex prompted Japan to shut down all of it nuclear plants pending new safety revisions and inspection. The meltdown at Fukushima has also impacted the nuclear strategies of countries around the globe, with nations such as Germany committing to exit all nuclear generation.

Japan’s nuclear fleet once supplied close to 30 percent of the nation’s electric power. Yet the analysis from Reuters predicts only 14 of Japan's remaining reactors will most likely be restarted while the fate of 34 others remains uncertain.

Another factor in the uncertainty of Japan’s nuclear fleet is that even if a reactor is approved for operation by nuclear regulators, the government has said it will leave it up to local officials to decide whether a plant will be brought back online.

Post-Fukushima shutdowns have put a strain on Japan, which is now forced to rely heavily on resources such as coal and natural gas. Japan’s renewed reliance on fossil-fueled generation has meant soaring import expenses and set a challenge for the island nation in maintaining its goals for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The economic impact of the closures has also prompted some nuclear operators to seek financial relief from the government. Nuclear power companies have reported combined losses of some $31 billion in the over two-year period since Japan began the shutdown of its nuclear plants.

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