Japan approves new energy plan

A cask is prepared to remove nuclear fuel rods at a destroyed Fukushima reactor

The March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant triggered widespread public opposition to the use of nuclear energy in Japan.

Japan's cabinet has approved an energy strategy that identifies nuclear power as a key baseload source of electricity but lacks clear generation targets for renewable resources such as solar and wind.

The Japanese government will likely clarify the nation's precise energy mix within the next few years, according to Toshimitsu Motegi, the head of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) wants to restart the nation’s dormant nuclear reactors, which were shut down in response to widespread public opposition to nuclear energy in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011.

However, the LDP has vowed to surpass previous renewables targets. In 2010, the previous Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) government said it wanted renewable resources to account for roughly 20% of the nation’s energy mix by 2030.

The DPJ suggested clear targets for renewables and vowed to gradually reduce the nation’s reliance on nuclear energy until it was pushed from power in late 2012.

Before the closure of the country’s nuclear reactors, Japan derived roughly 30% of its electricity from nuclear power, or about 44.6GW.

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