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Japan Signaled a Big Shift in its Post-Fukushima Future

On Wednesday, the prime minister of Japan stated that his country would examine the feasibility of building next-generation reactors and restarting other nuclear power plants that had been shut down. The comments made by Fumio Kishida, which were reported by Reuters, add to those he made back in May and come as Japan, a major energy importer, tries to diversify its options in the wake of ongoing uncertainties on the global energy markets and the crisis in Russia and Ukraine.

The plan would revolutionise the country’s energy policy since the Fukushima disaster of 2011, when a powerful earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility. If completely executed, the plan would be a step forward for the country. Although attitudes appear to be shifting, the majority of Japan’s nuclear facilities have stayed dormant since that time. Over 60% of the populace, according to a former executive director of the International Energy Agency, are now in favour of Japan restarting its nuclear power progra..

By 2050, Japan plans to be carbon neutral and this “ambitious goal” of the 6th Strategic Energy Plan for the country predicts that nuclear energy will generate 20% to 22% of all electricity. By  2030, with renewable energy accounting for the remaining 36% to 38%. According to the strategy’s framework, “Stable usage of nuclear power would be pushed on the major premise that public faith in nuclear power should be gained and that safety should be secured.”

Despite the possibility that Japan will once again use nuclear energy, not everyone supports the technology. Greenpeace is one of the naysayers. The website of the environmental organisation claims that despite being marketed as a solution to our energy problems, nuclear power is difficult to create and very expensive. “It also produces large volumes of hazardous rubbish,” it continues. “Renewable energy is less expensive to purchase and install. In conjunction with battery storage, it can generate the power we require while lowering our emissions.

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