A group of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers will soon launch a parliamentary league that considers nuclear power plants to be a key energy source. The new league will encourage the Japanese government to include the promotion of new power plant construction and replacement of existing facilities in the Strategic Energy Plan to be revised in summer 2021.
The league will propose that the continued use of nuclear power is necessary in order for both stable energy supply and decarbonization to be feasible.
The “parliamentary league to promote the realization of a decarbonized society and replacement with the latest nuclear power plants to maintain and enhance national power” will hold its first meeting on April 12. The launch was proposed by heavyweights such as LDP Research Commission on the Tax System chairperson Akira Amari and LDP Research Commission on Comprehensive Energy Strategy chairperson Fukushiro Nukaga. The participants will discuss a proposal to be submitted to the government.
The league’s prospectus states that it will “move to propose,” in line with the Strategic Energy Plan revision, the construction of new nuclear power plants that will emit almost no carbon dioxide. The prospectus claims that the construction of next-generation nuclear power plants will lead to “enhanced safety and assurance” and that “Japan should take responsibility by moving forward [with construction].”
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has stated in Diet interpellations to date that he “is not considering at this time” the construction of new power plants.
Nuclear power policy will be a major point of contention in the revision of the Strategic Energy Plan. The current plan sets a target ratio of 20-22% for nuclear energy in Japan’s energy mix in FY2030. Due to the effects of the 2011 nuclear accident, the ratio remains at 6%.
The parliamentary league emphasizes that “nuclear power is a source of decarbonized energy that generates large amount of stable and inexpensive power,” and it is a “semi-nationally generated power with a high level of technological self-sufficiency.” The league describes nuclear power as a “key energy source” essential to realizing both a stable energy supply and carbon neutrality to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
House of Councillors member Hirofumi Takinami, who will be the secretary-general of the parliamentary league, said: “Japan’s world-class nuclear power technology and human resources is facing a risk of decline due to delays in resumption and construction.” He went on to say: “China is building [nuclear power plants] in and outside China, so Japan’s superiority will be lost.”
With regard to renewable energy sources, the parliamentary league points out that “solar power and wind power are affected by weather conditions” and such types of power generation, “which require double investment to cover fluctuations, are expensive and inefficient.” (Abridged)