On Aug. 24, at the newly established GX (Green Transformation) Implementation Council chaired by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the Japanese government announced a new nuclear energy policy.

The framework for this new policy consists of three key points: maximize the use of existing nuclear power plants through an accelerated restart and extension of their operation period; develop and build advanced next-generation reactors; and develop conditions suitable for the use of nuclear energy, including back-end support.

The most contentious of these is the second point: the development and construction of advanced next-generation reactors. Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, previous Japanese government policy has made no mention of building new power plants, so it is being seen as a major policy change. What explains this policy change and is it really feasible?