Nuclear power still vital part of Japan energy mix: officials


Nuclear power is set to remain a key part of Japan’s energy profile despite the safety concerns raised by the Fukushima disaster, senior Japanese energy officials predicted Monday.

“The Japanese government still considers nuclear as an option for the energy mix. It must not be excluded from the overall energy mix,” said Zengo Aizawa, vice president of Tokyo Electric Power Co. which operates the stricken Fukushima plant.

“The government has rethought the idea of abandoning nuclear energy,” Aizawa told a session of the World Energy Congress being held in Daegu, South Korea.

Japan shut down all 50 commercial reactors in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant.

Two reactors were restarted in July last year, but were taken offline again last month for inspections, leaving the country without any nuclear power.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has openly backed a return to the widespread use of atomic energy, but the Japanese public remains divided, with opponents citing continued safety fears.

Makoto Yagi, Chairman of the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, told the gathering of energy officials in Daegu that Japan should remain committed to nuclear power in the medium and long term.

“It is important to resume nuclear power plants as soon as their safety can be guaranteed,” Yagi said.

He stressed the importance of regaining public trust by explaining the post-Fukushima safety measures that were being put in place.

“It is a Japanese responsibility to help improve nuclear safety standards worldwide,” based on the lessons learned from Fukushima, he added.

Nuclear power supplied about one-third of Japan’s electricity before the 2011 tsunami.

  • thedudeabidez

    ““The government has rethought the idea of abandoning nuclear energy,” Aizawa told a session of the World Energy Congress being held in Daegu, South Korea.”

    More like P.M. Kan was removed in an internal coup by the genpatsu-mura (“Nuclear village”) for proposing such an idea. Poll after poll has shown clear majorities of the public opposed to nuclear power or in favor a gradual phase-out. It’s only the energy monopolies and politicians/bureaucrats receiving their money who continue to insist Japan remain on the nuclear path.

    • Starviking

      And your evidence for this internal coup is?

  • C. Winnefeld

    I truly wonder, what are the lessons learned from Fukushima?

    So far, more than two years after 3/11, the reactors are still in critical condition. All it takes is just one more earthquake – or maybe a typhoon? – and the situation will be out of hand. Not to mention the tons of contaminated water leaking into the Pacific every day. Furthermore, neither the corrupt regulatory system nor the inapt utility company at the helm of the disaster were in any way substantially restructured or improved.

    In my eyes the nuclear catastrophe is still going on!

    • Starviking

      Doubtful on the earthquake or typhoon front: the buildings are capable of withstanding 6 plus earthquakes on the Shindo scale, and the backups seem to be operating well.
      As for the regulatory system, I’m not sure if you noticed, but it was changed.
      As for the contaminated water: no effect beyond the silt dam at the Dai-ichi dockside.

      • C. Winnefeld

        Thank you for your kind reply. Interestingly, even the NRA, and I have noticed its spectacular inception, has published material clearly indicating that contaminated water has leaked into the Pacific.

  • Sam Gilman

    If you don’t care about detection levels, should I understand that you believe that even the smallest amount of radioactive material is fatal?