Japan says `sayonara’ to nuclear power

Japan, the world’s third-largest user of nuclear power, has closed all of its 50-odd atomic power reactors despite its dependence on nuclear energy for around 30 per cent of the country’s electricity needs.

Hokkaido Electric started lowering power generation at its 912-megawatt third unit at the Tomari nuclear plant in northern Japan at 5 pm (Japanese time). Power generation at the reactor is expected to reach zero by around 11 pm and the reactor unit is expected to be brought to a "cold shutdown" some time on Monday.

Japanese economy, which thrived on availability of cheap nuclear power suffered in the aftermath of the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant sparked by last year’s tsunami.