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A Liberal Democratic Party policymaking panel agreed Thursday that the government should promote nuclear power as a national policy.

An interim report compiled by the panel says such promotion is necessary because planned liberalization of the electric power market is expected to have an adverse effect on nuclear plants.

Because of the high cost of disposing of radioactive waste, nuclear power plants are expected to be at a disadvantage if competition heats up with thermal power plants.

Some experts believe this may be detrimental to ensuring a steady energy supply.

The LDP report says the government should revise related legislation during the current Diet session to provide funding for the promotion of nuclear power.

The report says a liberalization plan announced late last year by an advisory panel to the minister of economy, trade and industry is “basically appropriate.”

The minister’s panel, made up of representatives from the power industry, other sectors and consumer groups, said the ministry should decide by the end of 2004 whether to give economic incentives to push nuclear power plants.

On Dec. 27, the electric utility division of the Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy agreed that 64 percent of the retail power market should be liberalized by April 2005, up from the current 26 percent.

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