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The shutting down of No. 4 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture in the early hours of Sept. 16 for a regular inspection means that all of Japan’s nuclear power generation reactors are now offline. This is the second time that Japan has been in a “no-nuclear” situation, following the one that lasted for about two months from early May 2012 in the wake of the 3/11 disasters.

After the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s approval of new safety standards for reactors on June 19, four power companies have applied for safety examinations of 12 reactors with a view to restarting them. The NRA is currently carrying out the examinations. But the ongoing disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant shows that nuclear power is extremely difficult to handle and inherently dangerous. The government should work out a policy as soon as possible that shows a timeline for ending Japan’s reliance on nuclear power generation.

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