Japan goes nuclear-free

Japan shut down its last operating nuclear reactor on Monday, only the second time since the Fukushima crisis that the country has gone entirely nuclear free.

Japan historically derived a third of its electricity supply from nuclear energy and had uninterrupted generation for four decades before the of March 2011 disaster.

AFP reports Japan's utilities have already submitted applications to restart their reactors with the Nuclear Regulation Authority under new stricter safety standards.

Japanese nuclear facilities must now also seek the consent of local governments and communities hosting nuclear plants before getting clearance.

The spot uranium price was trading around $70 a pound in 2011, but fell back sharply following the disaster in Japan which saw a number of countries, most notably Germany, scale back or shut down nuclear energy facilities.

Prices for the reactor feedstock are now languishing at 8-year lows of $34 a pound and have not recovered despite more than 70 reactors being built around the world, 29 of them in China.