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Japan, Germany Struggle With Nuclear Power Slowdown via National Geographic

Posted by Mason Inman of The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University July 21, 2011 CommentsWith a large share of their nuclear power plants down at the moment, both Japan and Germany are scrambling to meet energy demand and figure out how to get by without nuclear in the future.

Two-thirds of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors are currently down, most of them for maintenance and testing. To cope with the power shortfall, Japan’s central government asked consumers to cut back on electricity use. But by spring of next year, all reactors currently running in the country would need to shut down to go through scheduled check-ups. If they fail, or if local opposition prevents them from restarting, it could lead to “a once unthinkable scenario,” the Japan Times reports, with the country losing all its nuclear power generation.

After Japan’s nuclear disaster, Germany temporarily shut down seven of its oldest nuclear reactors, and later decided to keep them shut. Not long after, the country’s parliament voted to phase out all of the country’s nuclear power plants by 2022. But Germany’s Federal Network Agency said last week one of the old reactors may need to be restarted to meet energy demand.

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