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Building new nuclear power plants needed for future of nuclear power industry in Japan

By Miyagawa Junichi

 

On July 22, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, Inc. (JAIF), released a proposal requesting that new nuclear power plants be built and that existing ones be expanded or replaced. The JAIF says it is the first time for the group to make such a proposal. According to the JAIF, replacement, expansion, and the building of new nuclear power plants is needed to maintain supply chains.

 

The JAIF is composed of companies and other entities involved in nuclear power generation.

 

Since the nuclear power accident at the TEPCO Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, there has been deep-rooted distrust of nuclear power among the Japanese people. The government has said that it “does not envision at present” the replacement or expansion of existing plants or the construction of new ones, and such moves have been put on hold. 

 

Energy supply has been rattled by the Ukraine crisis, however, and momentum is rising in the government and ruling parties to “reinstate nuclear power.” The Kishida administration has proposed the “maximum use” of nuclear power. On July 22, JAIF President Arai Shiro said, “The Prime Minister has high hopes for nuclear power.”

 

The proposal explains that companies are pulling out of the nuclear power business because the outlook for restarting plants and for building new plants or expanding existing ones is unclear. To maintain the level of technology and secure human resources, the proposal asks that building new plants and replacing and expanding existing ones be explicitly stated in the nation’s energy plan.

 

In a questionnaire survey of JAIF member companies last autumn, some said that they “need projects to train students and young engineers” and that “there are some technologies that can only be passed down when building new plants.”

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