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Japanese nuclear power plant reopens

Japan has started producing nuclear energy again at a plant on its northern island. Meanwhile, workers in the south are still trying to cool reactors at Fukushima enough to shut the plant.

Demonstrators carry a mock coffin during an anti-nuclear power protest, in Tokyo, August 6, 2011.
Demonstrators carry a mock coffin during an anti-nuclear power protest, in Tokyo, August 6, 2011.
Image: Shizuo Kambayashi/AP/Press Association Images

JAPAN HAS RESUMED nuclear energy production for the first time since March’s earthquake, and the subsequent nuclear disaster.

The government gave the go-ahead for commercial production at Tomari plant to re-start, but Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said he would like to phase out nuclear power in the long term, reports AFP.

Almost 75 per cent of the country’s 54 plants have been offline since the Spring, for safety checks. Anti-nuclear sentiment has grown, especially in communities near to power plants, making their reopening controversial.

Twenty thousand people died in the Japanese disaster, which happened when an earthquake triggered tsunamis that crippled the Fukushima power plant.

The Telegraph writes that the plant in question is located on Japan’s northernmost Hokkaido island – production began again yesterday.

The government’s been forced to pursue reopening reactors because of summer electricity shortages.

It comes after Britain this month closed part of its re-processing facility at Sellafield.

The plant created mixed-oxide fuel for use in nuclear power plants – Japan’s Fukushima plant was one of its biggest customers. The UK government said taxpayers couldn’t be asked to foot bills to save the commercial operation.

Earlier this year, Germany announced that its to shut down all of its nuclear power plants by 2022.

Read more by AFP on Japan’s decision to re-start production>

Read more in TheJournal.ie about the Sellafield closure>

Read more in TheJournal.ie about the closure of Germany’s power plants by 2022>

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