Nuclear power to be less than 20% of Japan’s energy mix in 2030: sources

Kyodo

The Japanese government is planning to set the target for the ratio of nuclear power generation to the country’s total electricity production in 2030 a little below 20 percent, compared with 28.6 percent in fiscal 2010, when the Fukushima nuclear crisis occurred, sources said Monday.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which is close to major manufacturers, had been aiming to set a goal of 20 percent or more, viewing promoting renewable energy as costly.

But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has leaned toward the view it would be difficult to win public support in its energy policy if the target ratio of nuclear power is set at the 20 percent level as seen before the crisis. As a result, the sources said, the target could be set at 18 to 19 percent.

Some lawmakers in the ruling bloc led by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, however, remain cautious about lowering the ratio below 20 percent, so preparations for creating the country’s new future energy mix may not go smoothly.

The cautiousness is partly due to the necessity for Japan to cut greenhouse gas emissions to fight global warming, which means the country would burn less fuel for thermal power generation, and instead seek to restart nuclear reactors confirmed safe by regulators.

All of Japan’s nuclear reactors have remained offline amid safety concerns following the March 2011 disaster in Fukushima.

The industry ministry is planning to have a panel of experts make a proposal for the 2030 energy mix by the end of this month, while aiming to have the proposal approved by the ruling coalition in May.

The plan will also see Japan present its numerical goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions based on the energy mix plan before a summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations is held in June in Germany.