TOKYO - Tokyo Electric Power Co , the operator of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima power plant, shut its last operating nuclear reactor on Monday for regular maintenance, leaving just one running reactor supplying Japan's creaking power sector.
Japan has 54 reactors, but since the tsunami last March triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years at the Fukushima plant, it has been unable to restart any reactors that have undergone maintenance due to public safety concerns.
Tepco said it shutdown the No.6 reactor at its Kashiwazaki Kariwa plant, the world's biggest nuclear power plant, raising concerns about a power crunch this summer when electricity demand peaks due to hot weather.
"We are likely to be able to provide stable electricity supply at the moment, but we would like to ask customers to continue conserving power," Tepco President Toshio Nishizawa said in a statement released on Sunday.
"We are currently closely studying the summer power supply situation. We will do our utmost to operate in a stable way and maintain our facilities," he added.
Out of the 17 reactors owned by Tepco, which provides electricity to some 45 million people in the Tokyo area, all six at its devastated Fukushima Daiichi plant, 240 km (150 miles) northeast of Tokyo, are off line, as well as four at its neighboring Fukushima Daini plant.