Tokyo: Nearly 70 percent of Japanese believe nuclear safety measures are not yet sufficient to allow restarting reactors taken down for routine maintenance, a poll showed on Monday, suggesting Japan may have difficulty keeping plants running and avoiding a power crunch amid the protracted nuclear crisis at Fukushima.
The poll by the Nikkei business daily also showed that 47 percent of the respondents favoured reducing the number of nuclear plants, up 5 percentage points since the previous poll in May.
Thirty-five of Japan’s 54 commercial nuclear reactors are currently shut, including the six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant 240 kilometres (150 miles) from Tokyo, which the operator Tokyo Electric Power Co is struggling to bring under control after it was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Before the disaster and subsequent nuclear crisis, the worst since Chernobyl, nuclear power provided about 30 percent of Japan’s electricity.
As more nuclear reactors are shut for routine maintenance while those which have completed repairs are unable to restart, failing so far to win local government approvals due to public wariness, analysts warn that the country could face a power crunch and rising power bills as electricity use surges in the summer. Agencies