Japan will shut down its two remaining reactors briefly in September, a rare nuclear free window amid widespread public opposition to the use of atomic energy.
The two reactors at the Oi nuclear plant in western Japan will go offline on September 2 and 15 for mandatory safety checks, plant operator Kansai Electric said.
The country’s 50 nuclear reactors were shuttered in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011 when the earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan.
The two Oi reactors resumed operations in July last year while two other units at the same plant have remained offline.
The Nuclear Regulation Authoritiy said they received requests from power companies seeking permission to restart 10 nuclear reactors at five separate plants across the country.
The new industry watchdog was considering each application amid stricter standards, but experts said it was unlikely that it would result in a return to nuclear energy.
The crisis at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.
Two years after the devastation, authorities have yet to determine the extent of damages in the Fukushima plant.
More than 300 tons of highly radioactive water from the crippled plant may have been pouring out into the sea everyday, the government said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged that the government would take a much bigger role in the “urgent” cleanup of the facility.
by Maesie Bertumen
Photo: Mark Turnauckas/Flickr