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Japan shuns nuclear power

Country targets massive increase in renewables generation

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The Fukushima incident last year has prompted a major shift in energy policy for Japan. (GETTY IMAGES)
The Fukushima incident last year has prompted a major shift in energy policy for Japan. (GETTY IMAGES)

The government of Japan has taken a major decision on its future electricity generation mix with the announcement that it intends to cease using nuclear power by the 2030s. The country has been considering the issue of continued nuclear investment since last year’s Fukushima disaster, with potentially far-reaching consequences for many industries given the substantial 30 percent contribution nuclear makes to Japan’s total electricity generation.

In a policy statement from Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government, reported by Reuters, the country is set to pursue “a strategy to create a new future. It is not pie in the sky. It is a practical strategy.” A strict 40-year limit has been placed on the lifetime of reactors, meaning that most will be shut down by the 2030s. Currently, 48 of the country’s 50 nuclear reactors are not in use whilst safety checks continue. Restarts of existing reactors will only be permitted after approval from the atomic regulator.

The recently-released report on the Fukushima incident from the National Diet of Japan contained wide-spread criticism of much of the country’s nuclear industry – with the report authors stating that the incident was “profoundly a manmade disaster” due to a plethora of safety and security issues being ignored. This has prompted the growth of an anti-nuclear movement in the country that has called for an immediate cessation of nuclear power production.

The government has suggested that it will seek to treble the share of renewable power generation and will introduce energy efficiency measures to reduce energy consumption. Japan will also retain its position as the world’s top LNG importer to feed its conventional power stations.
 

 

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