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Majority of Japanese want to scrap nuclear plants: poll

TOKYO -- More than four out of five Japanese want to see Tokyo abandon nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima atomic crisis, a survey said Sunday.

Resource-poor Japan relies on nuclear power for a third of its electricity supplies, and Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government has said it will remain a major pillar of the nation's energy policy.

But a survey in the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper found that 82 percent of Japanese wanted to see it phased out. Just over nine percent wanted all reactors shut down immediately, while almost 19 percent said they should each be permanently decommissioned when their next routine inspection was due.

The majority, just under 54 percent, wanted to have them shut down when electricity supply and demand allow it. Only 14 percent wanted no change.

“The survey reflected the strength of the public's distrust in the government's nuclear policy,” the newspaper said.

The findings came after four of the six reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant northeast of Tokyo were heavily damaged by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and deadly tsunami on March 11.

The world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986 has caused radioactive material to spew into the air, ground and sea and forced the evacuation of 80,000 people in a 20-kilometer (12-mile) radius.

Workers have pumped water into reactor cores and fuel rod pools, leaving more than 100,000 tons of contaminated water in basements, drains and ditches, some of which has leaked into the ocean.

In the survey, 67 percent of the 1,853 respondents said Japan should not build any more reactors, while 22 percent said Japan should reduce the number being planned.

Only six percent said the government should go ahead with its project to build 14 new reactors by 2030.

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