Japan Reconsiders Its Nuclear Energy Options

Three years after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear catastrophe Japan has revealed that it still considers nuclear power as a vital source of commercial energy and will look to it for power in the future.

In the country’s first energy policy since 2011, Japan’s government have said it is still a ‘key’ course of electricity for the country. The statement will likely cause a backlash from a Japanese public who still have memories of Fukushima fresh in their minds, and will be quick to remind Tokyo of the pledges that were made to reduce dependence on the power source amid cries to shut down the country’s reactors.

However, the government has moved to assure energy companies as well as the public that all of Japans 48 commercial nuclear reactors are indeed shut down, and will remain so until the pass stringent new safety standards.

Much like it’s industrial rival and close neighbour China, Japan also sees coal-fired plants as a part of it’s energy portfolio, with renewables and nuclear being the other cornerstones.

The exact ratio of how much each energy source will make up of Japan’s energy economy is unknown, but it was revealed that the reason for the delay of the ‘Basic Energy Plan’ – which was originally due in January – was delayed after expert advisors had suggested it was too ‘pro-nuclear’

Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister, told reporters that “in principle, the direction has not changed.”

That said, Japan’s 2010 energy plan had called to increase nuclear power production capacity to 50% of the national energy needs, whereas Minister Motegi emphasised that -whilst the exact figure is not known – there is drive in the government to make ‘great strides’ in development and capacity for renewable forms of commercial electricity.