TOKYO — Japan is calling for further efforts to cut its carbon emissions by promoting renewable energy while also pushing nuclear power despite its 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.
An energy policy paper, adopted by the Cabinet on Friday, said Japan faces the urgent task of reducing carbon emissions by utilities that rely heavily on fossil fuel plants to make up for shortages of cleaner nuclear energy. The call comes as nuclear reactors around Japan are slowly being restarted — despite lingering anti-nuclear sentiment since the Fukushima crisis — after being shut down to meet tougher safety standards.
Japan wants renewable energy’s share in 2030 to grow to 22-24% of the country’s power supply from 16%, while pushing nuclear energy to 20-22% from just 3% in 2017. The report said the cost of renewables also needs to be reduced.
Japanese utilities rely more heavily on fossil fuel plants than those in the U.S. and Europe, the paper said. Coal and natural gas accounted for 74% of Japan’s energy supply.
Nuclear energy made up about one-third of Japan’s energy supply before 2011, when a massive earthquake and tsunami destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant’s cooling systems, sending three of its reactors into meltdowns.
Despite the government’s renewed ambitions for nuclear power, reactor restarts are proceeding slowly as nuclear regulators spend more time on inspections under the stricter post-Fukushima standards, while utility companies have opted to scrap aged reactors instead of investing in additional safety measures.
Nearly half of the 54 reactors in Japan have been designated for decommissioning, and only nine have resumed operation since the accident.
Source : https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/japan-plans-carbon-emission-cuts-more-nuclear-energy/2019/06/07/5de8b1c0-88dd-11e9-9d73-e2ba6bbf1b9b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a1fd2c80af1d
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