More nuclear power needed by 2030, Japan says

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  May 16, 2018 at 12:47 PM
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May 16 (UPI) -- Japan may be forging ahead with an energy plan that includes nuclear energy use, despite popular opposition following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

A subgroup of the Japan's Advisory Committee for Natural Resources proposed the world's third-largest economy maintain a previously set target of generation at 20-22 percent of Japan's total electricity by 2030, Jiji Press reported Wednesday.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has designated nuclear energy an "important source of base load," according to the Tokyo Shimbun.

The targets could be set ahead of new construction, but neither construction nor expansion was mentioned by the subgroup.

The draft stated, "Necessary steps should be taken steadily," but stopped short of detailing specific measures.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been in favor of restarting more of Japan's nuclear plants, a move that has been met with civic opposition.

In order to meet the lofty 20-22 percent target, 30 nuclear plants must be in operation.

At present only eight nuclear facilities supply electricity in the country.

Without new construction or expansion of existing plants it would be difficult to fulfill target quotas, according to reports.

Pushbacks are expected among Japanese activists strongly opposed to expanding nuclear energy.

In a poll conducted by the Asahi Shimbun in December 2017, respondents gave an average of 4.2, out of a possible 10, when asked to rate Abe's energy policy.

The 2011 earthquake that damaged nuclear power plants in Fukushima has had enduring effects.

Kyodo News reported in March that radioactive water continues to flow into the Pacific Ocean following the disaster.

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