A new wave of nuclear reactor restarts became more likely as the government approved the new Basic Energy Plan on July 3, confirming that nuclear power will remain a key component of Japan’s energy strategy. But by rubber-stamping the plan, the government also strengthened its commitment to giving renewables such as solar and wind power a major role in energy generation. The latest Basic Energy Plan, which charts the nation’s mid- and long-term energy policy, marks the fifth in a series that is required by law to be reviewed about every three years. The second plan to be revised under the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated for the first time that the country will strive to make renewable energy a major power source, although it noted fluctuations in output due to weather conditions. Renewables can become a viable source of a stable power supply when they are combined with rechargeable batteries and hydrogen, according to the plan. The latest plan re-endorsed using the nuclear fuel cycle, in which plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel at nuclear plants is used to generate power. But the plan, noting calls from the United States, said that Japan “will make efforts to cut the stockpile of plutonium.” Japan holds a total of 47 tons of plutonium, equivalent to 6,000 Nagasaki-type atomic bombs, a source of criticism from the United States and other countries. The country has failed to reduce its plutonium stockpile due to little progress in the nuclear fuel cycle over decades.
Asahi Shimbun 3rd July 2018 read more »
A new basic energy plan that sets goals for Japan’s energy mix to 2030 and presents scenarios to 2050 was today approved by the Cabinet. Under the plan, nuclear will remain a key energy source, accounting for 20-22% of the country’s electricity generation up to 2030.
World Nuclear News 3rd July 2018 read more »
The draft METI plan’s renewable energy target lacks ambition and urgency, its coal ratio is far too high, and the ratio for nuclear power is wholly unrealistic. Seven years after TEPCO’s Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, 70% of Japanese people are still seeking a non-nuclear society and this wish is not reflected in the proposed energy mix.
Greenpeace Japan 3rd July 2018 read more »
Japan’s nuclear watchdog on Wednesday gave the green light to the restart of an aging nuclear power plant northeast of Tokyo, idled since it was hit by the tsunami that caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The Tokai No. 2 plant is the first nuclear plant affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster to have cleared screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, part of the steps required before it can actually resume operations. The plant, located in the village of Tokai in Ibaraki Prefecture, suffered an emergency automatic shutdown of its reactor and was cut off from its external power source following the quake.
Nikkei Asian Review 4th July 2018 read more »
Kyodo News 4th July 2018 read more »
A Japanese high court on Wednesday ruled two nuclear reactors at a central Japan plant should not suspend operation, overturning a lower court ruling in favor of local residents who claim the plant is vulnerable to major earthquakes and other disasters. The ruling by the Kanazawa Branch of the Nagoya High Court on the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors of Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi plant came after the Fukui District Court ruled in May 2014 against their restart in the first such ruling over Japanese nuclear power plants since the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March 2011. The pressurized water reactors in question already resumed operation in March and May, respectively, after clearing in May last year new safety standards introduced in the wake of the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi power plant triggered by a major earthquake and ensuing tsunami.
Kyodo News 4th July 2018 read more »