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Japan eyes nuclear power push

2022 Aug 24, 18:23, Tokyo
Japan Flag (File Photo)

Japan's prime minister on Wednesday called for a push to revive the country's nuclear power industry in a bid to tackle soaring imported energy costs linked to the war in Ukraine.

Such a move could prove controversial, after the 2011 Fukushima disaster led to the suspension of many nuclear reactors over safety fears.

Like many countries, Japan -- which is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2050 -- has faced a squeeze on its energy supplies since Russian forces entered Ukraine six months ago.

The nation has also sweltered through record-breaking temperatures this summer, with residents asked to conserve power wherever possible.

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine has vastly transformed the world's energy landscape" and so "Japan needs to bear in mind potential crisis scenarios", Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at an energy policy meeting.

Japan should consider building next-generation nuclear reactors, he said, while the government will discuss bringing more nuclear plants online and extending the service life of reactors if safety can be guaranteed.

Kishida called for "concrete conclusions by the end of the year" on the topic, which remains a sensitive one after a deadly tsunami in March 2011 caused a meltdown at the Fukushima plant, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Eleven years on, 10 of Japan's 33 nuclear reactors are back in action, although not all are operational year-round, and the country is heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels.

The national nuclear safety watchdog has approved in principle the restart of seven more reactors, but those moves often face opposition from local communities.


Japan Nuclear Power energy crisis
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