A Japanese power plant operator said Friday that it would suspend a nuclear reactor in Ehime prefecture, western Japan, for regular checkups, which would leave only five of the nation's 54 reactors in service, DPA reported.
Shikoku Electric Power Co said Friday it would halt reactor 2 of its Ikata Nuclear Power Plant on January 13, bringing the three-reactor plant, the only one on Shikoku Island, to a complete suspension for the first time since 1994.
As Japanese utilities have shut down their reactors for inspection or maintenance, they have been unable to restart them amid growing public concerns about atomic power following the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
The Fukushima plant has been leaking radiation since it was hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The twin natural disasters ravaged the north-east, leaving more than 15,800 dead and 3,450 missing.
Shikoku Electric plans to restart reactor 2 on March 18 for test operation after the checkups and resume its operation on April 12, but given the impact of the Fukushima disaster the prospects for resumption are uncertain, Kyodo News reported.
All reactors are scheduled to be suspended for servicing by April 2012. Unless a utility restarts one, none will be left running after that.
Before the Fukushima disaster, around 30 per cent of Japan's electricity was nuclear generated.