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Nuclear power generation to remain “important power source” in 2030: gov’t

The government, now reviewing the Basic Energy Plan, released its draft plan on March 23. The government intends to maintain nuclear power generation as an “important power source” in 2030, and the Basic Energy Plan will specify the government’s readiness to implement measures to help major utilities continue nuclear power generation in the future as well. The government will refer to renewable energy, such as solar power generation, as a “mainstay power source” in the new plan.


The government formulates the Basic Energy Plan under the Basic Act on Energy Policy to show a medium- to long-term policy about nuclear power and renewable energy over the next 10 to 20 years. The government reviews the plan every three to four years.


In the current plan formulated in 2014, the government describes nuclear power as an “important base load power source.” In the new plan as well, the government maintains nuclear power as an important power source, which emits no carbon dioxide (CO2) when generating electric power.


The current plan proposes raising the proportion of nuclear power in total power generation from the present 2% to around 20% to 22% in fiscal 2030. The government seems to maintain  the same level of nuclear power in the new plan without a significant change but keep the degree of dependency lower than that before the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011.


In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident, major utilities have been saddled with increasing costs for safety measures, so in the new plan the government will consider incorporating measures for nuclear power operators’ stable business management.


In response to persistently strong opposition to the restart of offline nuclear power reactors, the government is also expected to incorporate a plan to regain public trust through dialogue between leading power companies and local residents, thereby advancing the resumption of currently offline nuclear reactors. The government is unlikely to specify the necessity of building new nuclear power plants or extending currently existing nuclear power plants.


As for renewable energy, which is one of the main focuses in the the process of reviewing the basic plan along with nuclear power, the government will describe it as a “mainstay power source” in the new plan. By reducing the costs of renewable energy as much as possible through technological innovation, the government aims to decrease electricity rates to the same level as those in foreign countries.

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