The number of nuclear reactors currently operating in Japan: zero.

Lightbulb_Button_Black_SmallOn May 5, Japan’s last operating reactor shut down for scheduled maintenance, leaving the country without nuclear power for the first time in more than four decades. Restarting it, or any of Japan’s other 53 reactors, could be difficult given the mounting public backlash and protests.

Japan will eventually restart some. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has been nothing if not consistent in his support for the nuclear-power industry. It’s long had carte blanche thanks to lavish campaign contributions, steady support for newspaper and magazine advertising and habit of giving government bureaucrats lucrative gigs when they retire.

Yet the Japanese are fast losing patience. Many seem willing to absorb higher electricity bills and live with a replay of last summer’s blackouts if it leads to safer future. Japan is one of the world’s most seismically active places, and the feeling is that unless it builds reactors out of rubber and elevates them on huge shock absorbers, it needs to find energy alternatives — and fast.

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Source: William Pesek | Bloomberg