Friday, 4 January 2013

Japan's cautious return to nuclear power

Japan's cautious return to nuclear power: "Japan appears to be heading toward a gradual revival of nuclear power generation under a new government supportive of retaining it, but the outlook for the industry in 2013 is unclear, with antinuclear sentiment still lingering among the public amid the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant.
The new government led by the Liberal Democratic Party has already signaled that it has no intention of following in the footsteps of the Democratic Party of Japan government, which was overthrown after the Dec. 16 election, when it comes to energy policy. The DPJ government aimed at phasing out nuclear power by the 2030s.
"We need to reconsider the previous government's policy of seeking zero operations of nuclear plants," Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told a press conference shortly after assuming the ministerial post.
He also said that completely giving up Japan's spent-fuel recycling policy, which would lose its role if nuclear power generation ends, is "currently not an option," and that the government backs the resumption of reactors as long as they are deemed safe by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the new atomic watchdog.
The remarks are likely to encourage utilities, which have been desperate to restart idled reactors to boost their business. The minister's words also leave open the possibility of allowing utilities to install new reactors that have been planned but are not yet under construction."

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