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With Sunday’s shutdown of Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi No. 4 reactor for regular safety inspections, Japan will be without nuclear power for the first time since July 2012.

How long it stays that way is the subject of a political struggle involving local governments hosting the plants, utility customers concerned about price increases, pro-nuclear politicians, and a Nuclear Regulation Authority trying to grapple with the crisis at Fukushima No. 1 even as it faces pressure to divert limited personnel and funds to speed up safety inspections at plants elsewhere.

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