The Japanese government has presented the draft of a new energy policy last Tuesday. In the new draft, nuclear power is described as an essential electricity source that allows power to be supplied all day throughout the country.
A so-called Basic Energy plan drafted in December was supposed to be presented to the Cabinet for approval in January. However, as the first draft seemed to be strongly pro-nuclear according to some ruling party parliament members, the government decided to revise the original content. The new draft presented highlights nuclear energy as an “important base-load power source” and pushed for the restarting of nuclear reactors, provided they satisfy new safety requirements instituted after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Some words used in the original draft were taken out to present an energy policy that is not solely reliant on nuclear power. While the original described such power as a “foundation” of the country’s energy supply, the new draft does not contain such description. It also noted that while Japan will promote a nuclear fuel recycling policy, “flexibility” in doing so must be exercised.
A new clause on the acceleration of introducing renewable energy sources was added to the draft, indicating that it would continue “beyond” the period of three years beginning from 2013. In 2010, the energy plan was pushing for a 50 percent reliance on nuclear energy from the current 30 percent, before the Fukushima accident. But the previous government, led by the Democratic Party of Japan, in 2012 initiated an “energy strategy” that would phase out the country’s usage of nuclear energy by 2030. However, the plan was not specific in steps that would achieve its aim.