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Japan faces nuclear-free summer, power shortage risks via Reuters

(Reuters) – The possibility of a nuclear power-free summer in Japan draws closer when one of two remaining reactors shuts down for on Monday for maintenance, raising concerns about a power crunch if none of those taken off-line after the Fukushima crisis is restarted.

Anti-nuclear activists may applaud the prospect that the reactors that supplied nearly 30 percent of Japan’s electricity before the March 2011 disaster will be shut down. But experts say firms will have to bear a costly burden and that mandatory limits on power use may be necessary to avoid blackouts.

Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the Fukushima plant, will shut down its last running reactor, the No. 6 unit at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant, leaving online just one of Japan’s 54 reactors.

The one remaining reactor, Hokkaido Electric’s Tomari No.3, is scheduled to go off line on May 5 for maintenance, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Sunday.

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