The global rally in energy costs due to the war in Ukraine has prompted a small group of Japanese politicians to revisit an option that’s been a hot-button topic in the country over the past decade — boosting nuclear power generation.
A group of influential opposition lawmakers from Nippon Ishin no Kai, a conservative-leaning opposition party, is calling on the government to restart reactors sooner than planned to tackle rising energy costs and utility bills, NHK reported on Tuesday. The group is seeking to have the plants turned on as an emergency step, following the lead of a group of ruling Liberal Democratic Party party members that have decided to file a similar request, according to the report.
The move to turn back on reactors isn’t immediately on the table because utilities face multiple hurdles including securing a formal nod from the regulator on their safety as well as getting local governments to approve. The topic is particularly sensitive in Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami resulted in the meltdown of three reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.