Hosono favors 15% share

Kyodo

Environment Minister Goshi Hosono said Friday he believes Japan’s new energy policy, to be released this summer, can be based on the idea of reducing nuclear power to 15 percent of the nation’s total electricity supply.

“Fifteen percent can be one base,” Hosono said, while noting limiting the operation of reactors to 40 years is the government’s policy and the 15 percent idea is in line with that policy.

“A number of options were presented,” Hosono said. “They are being discussed by experts, and I do not rule out any options.”

His comments came a day after an advisory panel to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry explored five options for the future composition of Japan’s energy sources.

The options presented by the panel call on the government to seek a society where nuclear power represents either zero percent, 15 percent, 20 to 25 percent or 35 percent in 2030.

In 2010, before the Fukushima crisis, the level was 26 percent.

The fifth option calls on the government not to set numerical targets for future energy composition, letting it instead be determined by the market.

Nippon Steel Corp. Chairman Akio Mimura, who heads the panel, said Thursday after the panel’s 24th meeting that he wants to finalize the panel’s proposals at its meeting next week. The expert panel’s proposals are then to be submitted to the Energy and Environment Council as input of the nation’s new energy policy to be put together this summer.

LDP to join nuke talks

JIJI

The Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito have agreed to join talks in the Diet on a bill aimed at creating a new nuclear regulatory agency, officials said.

The two largest opposition parties agreed on a plan by the administration and the ruling Democratic Party of Japan to start the debate Tuesday during a plenary session of the Lower House.

The LDP apparently decided it was risking a backlash from voters if it continues to stonewall on the issue. The party has been boycotting parliamentary talks, excluding discussions on comprehensive social security and tax reform, as two ministers, including transport minister Takeshi Maeda, who were censured in April by the Upper House, are refusing to quit.

The administration and DPJ are considering fully accepting an opposition proposal that the proposed nuclear regulatory body be made more independent than under the current bill.