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Japan says all 54 of its nuclear reactors may be shut down by next April, if communities object to their operation over safety concerns.
This could add more than 30 billion US dollars a year to the country's energy costs as they buy more fossil fuel.
Many reactors have shut down for maintenance after the March 11 quake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima nuclear power plant. This has slashed Japan's nuclear-generated power to only 36 percent of its capacity.
Among the 19 Japanese reactors that remain in operation, the last is due to be shut for inspections in April 2012.
In Japan, nuclear generators currently must shut for inspection at least once every 13 months. The maintenance period can vary widely. And re-start typically begins with a one-to-two month test run before commercial operation.
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