Energy plan revision eyed to avoid nuclear reliance ‘misunderstandings’

Kyodo

The Abe administration will consider revising a draft energy policy so it doesn’t stir “misunderstandings” that the nation will rely heavily on nuclear power in the medium to long term, industry minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Friday.

The draft says nuclear power is an “important base-load power source,” but Motegi said “base-load power” refers to an electric source that is used continuously regardless of how much power it supplies.

“I do not intend to change the term ‘base-load power.’ But if it is perceived as an electricity source used for an extremely large amount . . . I will consider changing the context,” he told a news conference.

The administration is in the final stage of deciding the Basic Energy Plan, which will be the first of its kind since the Fukushima nuclear disaster started in 2011, having already solicited opinions from the public.

The plan also says Japan will seek to reduce nuclear dependence as much as possible, but this has stirred controversy among ruling party lawmakers who see it as still taking too strong a pro-nuclear tone.

Nuclear policy has become one of the key issues in the Tokyo gubernatorial campaign that kicked off Thursday, with former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa tying up with fellow former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in calling for an end to nuclear power.

The administration is apparently wary the high-profile effort will provoke anti-nuclear sentiment still lingering from the Fukushima debacle.