Summary Box: The downside of nuclear-free Japan

AP News
Posted: May 04, 2012 4:28 PM
Summary Box: The downside of nuclear-free Japan

JAPAN'S CRISIS: The nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant is eroding years of Japanese efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, as power plants running on oil and natural gas fill the electricity gap left by now-shuttered nuclear reactors.

OFF THE TABLE: Before last year's devastating tsunami triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, Japan had planned to meet its carbon emissions reduction targets on the assumption that it would rely on nuclear power, long considered a steady, low-emissions source of energy.

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Japan will be free of atomic power for the first time since 1966 on Saturday, when the last of its 50 usable reactors is switched off for regular inspections. The central government would like to restart them at some point, but it is running into strong opposition from local citizens and governments.