Japan’s prime minister announced on Wednesday that his nation would consider the viability of creating next-generation reactors and restart more nuclear power stations that had been shut down.
Fumio Kishida’s remarks, which were published by Reuters, build on those he made back in May and come as Japan, a major energy importer, seeks to diversify its choices in the face of persistent uncertainty in the international energy markets and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
If fully implemented, the proposal would mark a change in the nation’s energy strategy since the Fukushima disaster of 2011, when a strong earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility.
Since then, the majority of Japan’s nuclear plants have been inactive, although perceptions seem to be changing. A former executive director of the International Energy Agency claimed earlier this month that there was now more than 60% popular support for restarting nuclear power in Japan.
By 2050, Japan wants to be carbon neutral. The nation’s 6th Strategic Energy Plan’s “ambitious view” calls for nuclear power to generate 20% to 22% of the nation’s total electricity in 2030, with renewables making up the remaining 36% to 38%.
An outline of the strategy states that “Stable usage of nuclear power will be pushed on the major premise that public trust in nuclear power should be gained and that safety should be secured.”