TOKYO – The Japanese government is considering building the next-generation nuclear power plants and extending the life of in-service reactors if safety …
can be guaranteed. This was announced by Premier Fumio Kishida, eleven years after the Fukushima crisis, and with a country grappling with rising imported energy costs due to Tolyo’s participation in the anti-Russia campaign, voluntarily by the U.S. over Moscow’s special operation in Ukraine, which began Feb. 24.
“We will try to build next-generation nuclear reactors equipped with new safety mechanisms,” said Kishida speaking at the Energy Transition Council.
The 65-year-old Japanese premier told the media that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, has profoundly transformed the world energy scenario, prompting Japan to have to take into account the potential effects of future crises. With regard to nuclear power plants, in addition to securing the operations of the 10 reactors that have already been reactivated (of which only 6 are operational), the government will lead efforts to carry out the restart of other units whose safety has been ascertained and approved by the national atomic agency.
Japan, like many other countries, aims for carbon neutrality by 2050, but is grappling with tightening energy supplies after Western-imposed sanctions on Russian gas. Nuclear power remains a highly sensitive issue in the Rising Sun after the Fukushima crisis in March 2011 triggered by the magnitude 9 earthquake and related powerful tsunami that caused the worst disaster since Chernobyl. Currently, 10 of the 33 reactors are back in operation, although not all are operational for the entire year. The National Nuclear Safety Agency has approved online the restart of seven other reactors.