Sat 1 Jun to Mon 30 Sep 2013 to be announced

Japan faces possibility of total nuclear shutdown

Japan may face a complete nuclear shutdown for the second time since the Fukushima disaster in March 2011.

Two operating reactors closed for maintenance and new strict safety checks kept the remaining fleet offline in January. Only two of the country's 50 reactors are operating, but will also be shut down by September for maintenance.

"It is unlikely that any of the idled reactors will re-start prior to September due to ongoing investigations of seismic issues at certain plants and due to the fact that safety standards have still not been finalized by the Nuclear Regulation Authority," said a Tokyo-based energy consultant.

As a result, Japan will have to import even more fossil fuels for power generation, adding to an energy bill which helped to force the country into a record trade deficit last year.

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