Japan turns off its last nuclear reactor in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Japan turned off its last nuclear reactor over the weekend in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

After the accident a 12 mile radius around the damaged plant has had to be abandoned due to radiation levels.

Radioactive material has been found in a range of food including spinach, tea leaves, milk, fish and beef, up to 200 miles from the nuclear plant.

Inside the 12-mile evacuation zone around the plant, all farming has had to be abandoned. In a country with 128 million people squeezed into land only a third larger than Victoria, farming land is scarce.

There have been huge protests in the streets in response to the nuclear disaster from the normally compliant Japanese people.

Masayuki Naoshima, a senior member of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan was in Australia last week searching for safer energy sources for the world’s third biggest economy.

Naoshima said liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal are on the top of the list.

”Australia is one of the most important countries for Japan in terms of natural resources supply,” Naoshima told The Age.

”After the earthquake, our demand for LNG and coal has increased… our investment in natural resources will increase in the future,” he said.

Naoshima said the recent Japanese investment in the Darwin-based $32 billion Ichthys gas export venture by Inpex Corp was an example of his country’s appetite for LNG investment.

Takashi Tsuchiya managing director of the Japan External Trade Organisation said LNG ”has huge potential for Japanese import” as an alternative to nuclear energy.

”Nuclear energy is necessary in Japan for electricity generation. However, after Fukushima we need to reconsider Japan’s energy source mix… LNG is expected to grow in its importance as an energy source,” Tsuchiya said, according to The Age.

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