The Japanese government wants to speed up the revival of nuclear power

Japan's Prime Minister dismisses ministers too close to the Moon sect

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Japan will accelerate the restart of its nuclear reactors, closed since the Fukushima accident in 2011, and will study the development of new generation reactors. This was announced by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on August 24. Rising oil and gas prices since the Ukraine war have forced Japan to make a major shift in its energy policy.

With our correspondent in Tokyo, Frédéric Charles

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has greatly transformed the global energy landscape” and therefore “Japan needs to keep in mind potential crisis scenarios in the future,” said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

“As for the nuclear plants, in addition to ensuring the operation of the 10 reactors that are already online, the government will lead an effort to do everything possible to restart” the others whose safety has been approved by the country’s nuclear agency, he added.

In order for public opinion to accept the reactivation of its reactors, Japan integrates them into its “ecological transformation” plan, aimed at allowing it to achieve its decarbonization goals. The Government wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 46% compared to 2013 by 2030.

Most Japanese, who have long opposed nuclear power since the Fukushima accident eleven years ago, are now in favour. Warnings of a power shortage during the sweltering summer heat and calls from authorities to reduce energy consumption have convinced them that restarting nuclear power plants has become a necessity.

high electricity prices

Especially since the Ukraine war, electricity prices have gone up a lot. Oil and gas imports have become prohibitive for the Japanese economy. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is pushing for a more massive restart of its reactors, extending their useful lives from 40 to 60 years. Only seven reactors have been operational since August, and another three are down for maintenance.

The nuclear safety authority has approved the restart of 17 reactors. Japanese power companies have spent a fortune to meet new nuclear safety standards, which have become the strictest in the world. Japan also wants to develop new generation reactors. The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries group cooperates with an American start-up company, Terra Power, which has unveiled a new breeder or fast neutron reactor. You can recycle plutonium from spent fuel. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, supports this project.

Like other countries, Japan has been facing constraints on its energy supplies since Russia invaded Ukraine six months ago.

Japan has also suffered record heat this summer, so authorities have asked people to conserve energy as much as possible.

Nuclear power has been a sensitive issue in Japan since a tsunami in March 2011 caused an accident at the Fukushima plant, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Eleven years later, 10 of Japan’s 33 nuclear reactors are active, though not all operate year-round and the country still relies on imported fossil fuels.

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