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​Nuclear is key energy source, Japan’s first energy policy draft since Fukushima says

Published time: February 25, 2014 14:02
Crane units are installed over the spent fuel pool inside the No.4 reactor building at the tsunami-crippled TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture (Reuters / Tomohiro Ohsumi)

Crane units are installed over the spent fuel pool inside the No.4 reactor building at the tsunami-crippled TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture (Reuters / Tomohiro Ohsumi)

In its first draft energy policy since 2011, Japan says nuclear energy is still among its vital sources of electricity. This comes after three years of nationwide calls to shut down nuclear plants – and pledges to reduce dependency on nuclear.

The government in Tokyo has said it would restart nuclear reactors, but only those that meet new safety standards put in place after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, AP reported. Japan has 48 commercial nuclear reactors, but all are presently shut down until they pass new safety standards.

The draft of the Basic Energy Plan advised that a combination of nuclear energy, renewables and coal-burning fuel will be the most reliable sources of electricity to meet the nation's growing energy needs.

The document, however, failed to establish the exact mix ratio, citing uncertain factors such as the number of reactors that will be brought online and whether renewable energy can be introduced in a timely manner.

Cabinet members had planned to present the draft in January, but a proposal submitted by an expert panel was deemed to be too pro-nuclear. Many Japanese citizens in the wake of Fukushima – the world's worst nuclear meltdown since the Chernobyl accident in April, 1986 – have expressed their opposition to nuclear power, and are pressing the government to come up with safer means of producing energy.

Tuesday's draft placed more emphasis on renewable energy resources.

Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister, told reporters that "in principle, the direction has not changed." He called for greater strides in the development of renewable energy over the next several years.

Japan has accumulated many tons of spent fuel, as well as a stockpile of extracted plutonium, stirring up international concerns about nuclear proliferation. Officials have said the most effective method for reducing the plutonium is to reopen the nuclear reactors to burn it.

Japan's previous energy plan, compiled in 2010, called for increasing nuclear power to about 50 percent of the nation's energy needs by 2030 from about 30 percent before the Fukushima disaster forced a rethink about the technology.

Comments (10)

 

Free_DrVojislavSeselj 12.03.2014 17:45

Wayne Kennedy 25.02.2014 22:32

How is it they get by with the reactors off line now?

  


Of course, those fuel imports are expensive, and Japan has been running up a trade deficit since the 3/11 incident, and this explains the aggressive pro-nuclear propaganda attack.

>>&g t;Maybe they should be made to pay for what they do to the planet? Suicidal?<<< ;

Unfortuna tely, that would also mean GE would have to pay too, and that's not going to happen, just like the US nuclear submarines which have been leaking radiation in Japanese waters for decades.

 

Free_DrVojislavSeselj 12.03.2014 17:39

Wayne Kennedy 25.02.2014 22:32

How is it they get by with the reactors off line now? As they are on the "ring of fire" and already have had a mojor incident they would continue?

  


Go od questions, which are not really answered as much as they are attacked by lobbyists for the industry, ironically outside of Japan for the most part, or writing for the colonial-mindset English press there. Fossil fuel imports even if they are for the most part from AngloAmerican firms exploiting corrupt dictatorships in the Middle East - which only reveals tensions between imperialist industries.

 

Roy Warner 26.02.2014 13:16

"to meet the nation's growing energy needs." Why would anyone, least of all the Japanese government, assume that a nation with a rapidly falling population and declining economy will have growing energy needs to meet?

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