Japanese government receives over 50,000 comments from public on future of nuclear power

Kyodo

The government has received more than 50,000 comments from the public on the future of nuclear power, officials said Saturday, as the Fukushima meltdowns generated high interest in the nation’s new energy policy.

The government on July 2 started to solicit the public’s opinions on its three proposed atomic energy scenarios by 2030, and about 52,300 comments had been submitted as of Friday. The campaign will end next Sunday.

The public’s response has been exceptionally strong, given that a total of more than 1,000 comments is usually considered high when the government canvasses opinion on its policies.

National policy minister Motohisa Furukawa on Wednesday will announce the final number of comments, which the government intends to publicly disclose.

The government’s three options for nuclear power as a proportion of Japan’s total energy generation by 2030 are zero, 15 percent, or 20 to 25 percent. Atomic energy supplied 26 percent of the nation’s electricity in fiscal 2010.

The government also held public hearings in 11 cities on the three nuclear scenarios from mid-July to early August. About 70 percent of those who expressed a desire to voice their opinions at the events were in favor of the complete elimination of nuclear power, the government said earlier.