Japan to aim for zero nuclear power in 2030s
Wpisał: Jiji   

Japan to aim for zero nuclear power reliance in 2030s


Jiji Sep. 13, 2012 http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120913a6.html


The government will stipulate in its upcoming energy and environmental strategy that it will reduce the nation's reliance on nuclear energy to zero percent by the 2030s but will continue to reprocess spent atomic fuel, officials said Wednesday.

The ruling Democratic Party of Japan has proposed that the government utilize all possible options to realize zero dependence in the 2030s. The government is set to accept this goal.

In the medium- to long-term strategy, which may be finalized by the Cabinet on Friday, the government will vow to strictly apply a rule limiting the maximum operational life of a nuclear reactor to 40 years.

It will also call for allowing idled reactors to be restarted only if their safety is confirmed by the new nuclear regulatory commission set to debut later this month. In addition, the government will not build any new reactors or expand existing atomic plants.

At present, only two of Japan's 50 reactors are operating. Safety concerns among the public remain strong due to the triple-meltdown crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which was damaged by the March 11, 2011, mega-quake and tsunami.

Meanwhile, the new energy strategy will call for continued reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, the officials said.

If reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel is halted, Aomori Prefecture, which hosts a reprocessing plant, may return spent fuel kept there to the nation's nuclear plants. As a result, those plants without enough storage space for spent fuel could be forced to shut down.

To avoid this, the government will seek to continue the reprocessing operations and ask Aomori to keep storing spent fuel, the officials said.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency's Monju fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, will be scrapped after being used for a research project aimed at reducing the amount of radioactive waste produced in spent-fuel reprocessing, according to the officials.