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Energy

Japan Plans Nuclear-Power Revival

Japan is inching toward nuclear after public-safety fears prompted a retreat from the fuel source.(Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)

photo of Clare Foran
February 25, 2014

After attempting to phase out existing reactors, Japan is taking a cautious step toward restarting its nuclear-power sector.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe released a draft energy policy proposal on Tuesday that calls nuclear power an important part of the country's future power generation and leaves the door open for the construction of additional nuclear facilities in the island nation.

In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown, Japan shuttered its fleet of nuclear reactors. Then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan pledged that the country would rid itself of nuclear power at a time when emotions and public opinion opposing the energy source ran high.

 

As a nation, Japan does not have a bounty of other power-generation resources, and a phaseout of nuclear has driven up electricity prices and led to increased burning of fossil fuels.

All this has paved the way for a cautious return to nuclear. Abe shied away from outlining specifics in his plan, however, and did not say how much of the country's baseload power generation is expected to come from nuclear in coming years. The plan is awaiting approval from the Japanese Cabinet before it will take effect.

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