Japan’s Cabinet has approved the Basic Energy Plan for the country, the first comprehensive energy policy after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdown, the worst in the world since Chernobyl. The new policy basically heralds the “comeback” of nuclear power, making a turn-around from the previous administration’s commitment to increasing renewable energy as an alternative and eventual replacement to nuclear energy in the aftermath of the disaster.
Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters after the Cabinet meeting on Friday morning that while Japan will still do its best to increase renewable energy sources, nuclear is still the “important baseload power source” of the country. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration seems bent on getting as many nuclear reactors back online in order to reduce the costs of importing the very expensive fossil fuel. The draft of the plan was approved last Thursday by the ruling bloc of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito. The latter party was pushing for numerical targets for renewable energy, and so the government committed to making renewable sources account for 20% of the electricity supply by 2030, which is higher than the previous administration’s commitments before 2011.
While the government is looking at bringing back nuclear energy to power the country’s high electricity needs, the anti-nuclear sentiment has been steadily growing among the public and several political groups. Media surveys have shown that the public is wishing that the country would move away from nuclear power and make the shift to renewable energy.
[ via Reuters ]