Move designed to secure energy supplies would mark a dramatic shift in Japan’s policy stance held since 2011 reactor meltdown
Japan is considering building next-generation nuclear reactors and restarting idled plants in a major policy shift, 11 years after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant rocked the country’s dependence on atomic energy.
The prime minister, Fumio Kishida, said he had directed a government panel to look into how “next-generation nuclear reactors equipped with new safety mechanisms” could be used to help Japan achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. His “green transformation” council is expected to report back by the end of the year, he said on Wednesday.
The change of direction, which could include extending the lifespan of existing reactors, have highlighted Japan’s struggle to secure a stable energy supply as a result of the war in Ukraine and soaring energy costs.
Successive governments have been forced to lower Japan’s dependence on nuclear since the March 2011 disaster, when a powerful tsunami destroyed Fukushima Daiichi’s backup electricity supply, causing three of its six reactors to suffer meltdowns.