Japan Approves Energy Plan Backing Nuclear Power

April 11, 2014
Many in Japan distrust the government's assurances that nuclear power is safe

Many in Japan distrust the government’s assurances that nuclear power is safe

The Japanese government has approved an energy plan that backs the use of nuclear power, despite public anxiety after the Fukushima disaster.

The plan reverses an earlier decision to phase out nuclear power by a previous government.

“We aim to opt for an energy supply system which is realistic, pragmatic and well balanced,” Japanese Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters.

Under the plan, the government would proceed with reactivating nuclear power plants that had met tough regulatory standards, Kyodo News agency reported, while also working to reduce nuclear dependence as much as possible.

The plan defines nuclear as an “important baseload power source” meaning it can feed constant power to the grid to meet minimum requirement. But the policy document did not specify the share of nuclear in the nation’s energy mix.

Thought the plan did not specify Japan’s future energy mix, it promised to increase its reliance on renewable energy.

Japan will do as much as possible to increase renewable energy supplies, Motegi said. The government has set up a ministerial level group to study boosting such energy sources.

In the plan on Friday, Japan said it would aim to surpass renewable energy targets in past plans.

The move is likely to prove unpopular with a wary public.

The public has turned against nuclear power after watching Tokyo Electric Power Co’s struggle to deal with the disaster at its Fukushima Daiichi station following a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The crisis was the worst since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 and all reactors in Japan have been shut for safety checks with no schedule for restarts.

The opposition Democratic Party of Japan, which was in power during the time of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake that triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster, had promised to phase out nuclear power.

(Source: Reuters & BBC)

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