Japan’s Fukui prefecture helps Sharp Corp. make solar cells, generates cash for BHP Billiton Ltd. and keeps the lights on in the Kansai area, which has an economy the size of Mexico’s and is home to Panasonic Corp.
What makes Fukui key to production of global brands is the reason it got the nickname “Nuclear Ginza.” The prefecture on the Japan Sea coast north of Osaka is home to 14 reactors in atomic plants, the highest concentration in the world.
The power lines that snake out hundreds of kilometers from the town of Ohi — with four reactors and a population of 8,700 — and three nearby atomic plants supply 49 percent of Kansai’s electricity. The region is about the size of Belgium and includes Kyoto and Osaka, the world’s seventh-largest metropolis. Sharp and Panasonic have factories in the area, along with Toshiba Corp.’s that makes chips used in the iPad.
Read the rest of the story: Japan Pulling Plug on Nuclear Age Risks $5 Trillion Economy.