Tokyo: Tokyo Electric Power Co, the
operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power
plant, has begun steps to suspend operations at its last
running nuclear reactor in order to carry out checks.
The No 6 unit at the company`s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa
plant is expected to be shut down early on Monday, leaving all
of the 17 reactors idle, including three units which have
suffered a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi.
The No 6 unit is scheduled to undergo checks for
about two and a half months.
As a result, only one of Japan`s 54 commercial nuclear
reactors will remain online. It is a unit at Hokkaido Electric
Power Co`s plant on Hokkaido, northern Japan.
But that reactor is also due to be shut down in early
May for scheduled maintenance work.
"We are expected to secure a stable supply of electric
power for the time being," Tokyo Electric president Toshio
Nishizawa said in a statement.
"But we call on the customers to continue cooperating
in saving electricity within a reasonable range."
A 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing massive tsunami
ravaged Japan`s northeast coast in March last year, leaving
19,000 dead and sparking meltdowns at the Fukushima plant,
some 220 kilometres northeast of Tokyo.
Due to safety worries following the worst nuclear
accident in 25 years many power utilities cannot restart
reactors even after undergoing regular checks.
Despite the government`s declaration in December that
the crippled Fukushima plant had been brought to a stable
"cold shutdown" state, 92 per cent are worried about it, a
survey has said. (AFP)