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FROM THE ARCHIVES: Japan scrambles to find alternative energy sources a year after nuclear disaster

This story first appeared in The Straits Times on March 10, 2012

Published on Mar 11, 2014 6:46 PM
REMAINS OF THE DAY: Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki, Miyagi prefecture, where 74 pupils were killed when a wave breached the protective dyke and engulfed them. One year on, work to clear the debris of the community has nearly been completed. The piles of jagged concrete and twisted cars are getting smaller. As for the school, only the shell remains. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

Japan is scrambling to find alternative energy sources as the lights go out at its nuclear power plants this year.

On Feb 20, Kansai Electric Power shut down its last nuclear reactor, leaving only two in the nation still in operation, out of a total of 54. By the end of next month, the remaining two will also be turned off for regular maintenance.

Before the disaster at the Fukushima plant on March 11 last year, nuclear energy supplied a third of Japan’s power needs, while coal, oil and natural gas supplied slightly more than half.

People like Assistant Professor Hiroaki Koide, a nuclear researcher at Kyoto University, have long pressed for the nuclear plants to be shut down immediately. The Fukushima disaster has boosted their cause.

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