WEF warns of break with nuclear

Kyodo

The World Economic Forum warned Monday that Japan would put its energy security at risk by quickly turning away from nuclear power, and called instead for strengthening the safety of its atomic plants over the long term.

In a report, the organization, known for its annual gathering of political and business leaders in the Swiss resort of Davos, called for transparency in relevant information by ensuring the independence of nuclear regulators in Japan, while advocating the need for greater involvement by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The forum noted that the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami has heightened public concern over the safety of nuclear power and led the public and policymakers to question the energy policy.

But it warned that any rapid change from current energy policy “would jeopardize Japan’s energy security and increase its dependence on fossil fuel imports,” adding that a major shift toward renewable energy would require large-scale investment.

At the same time, the report argues that Japan and other countries are ill-prepared to deal with a fundamental shift in “energy architecture” now under way, such as in world energy consumption, which is forecast to increase by 40 percent between 2009 and 2035.

To curb global warming, countries need to reduce dependence on fossil fuel, it says.