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LDP supports gov’t in introducing next-generation nuclear plants

A Diet members’ league of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will support the government’s plan to consider developing or building next-generation nuclear power plants. The group will recommend that the government stipulate the promotion of replacement of nuclear plants in its policies to be compiled later this year. The group will urge the government to shift its policy from downscaling nuclear plants to expanding them or building new ones in view of the current strain on electricity supply and concerns about energy procurement.


Prime Minister Kishida Fumio instructed his administration on Aug. 24 to consider developing or building next-generation nuclear reactors, changing the government’s policy of not building or expanding nuclear power plants that had been in place since the Great East Japan Earthquake.


A senior official of the LDP’s Diet members’ league for promoting replacement of nuclear plants hailed the prime minister’s instructions as “progress.” In early August, the group confirmed its policy of urging [the government] to promote next-generation nuclear reactors at a study session it held in the National Diet Building. Former LDP Secretary-General Amari Akira, who is the top advisor to the group, underscored, “There’s no doubt that newer things are safer.”


LDP Secretary-General Motegi Toshimitsu said in a press conference on Aug. 31, “If we fail to think, it will be difficult to come up with the best [energy] mix.” He also pointed out, “It’s also true that the global trend is shifting from large reactors to small ones.”


The Strategic Energy Plan finalized by the government in 2021 stipulates that Japan “will reduce its dependence on nuclear power as much as possible.” Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Nishimura Yasutoshi said in a press conference on Aug. 26, “I don’t think we need to review the policy.”


By the end of this year, the Diet members’ league will suggest that the government change this policy and advocate replacement of nuclear plants. The prime minister is asking the “GX (Green Transformation) Implementation Council,” which aims for economic growth through decarbonization, to compile detailed measures for developing and building next-generation nuclear power plants by year-end. The Diet members’ league is planning to urge the government to include [the policy of replacement of nuclear plants] in the planned measures. (Abridged)

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