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Japan eyeing more nuclear power plants

Last Updated: Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 21:01

Tokyo: Japan is considering plans to
increase the number of nuclear power plants in the country as
a measure to help combat global warming while accelerating
efforts to secure energy resources abroad, the industry
ministry said in a draft policy guideline.

The guideline for the next 20 years said the country
should build eight new plants by 2020 and more by 2030.

Japan currently has 53 nuclear power plants.
It also said the operating rate of such plants must be
raised to around 85 per cent by 2020 and to "the world`s top
level" by 2030.

Nuclear power generation in Japan has dropped in recent
years, with the rate falling to 60 per cent in 2008, due to
the temporary shutdown of a number of facilities for safety
checks following revelations of flaws at some plants.

The draft was submitted to an advisory panel of experts
working for Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Masayuki
Naoshima. The panel will draw up details of the guideline
before the Cabinet approves it as early as in June, the
ministry said yesterday.

The government has set a goal of cutting Japan`s carbon
dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent from
1990 levels by 2020.

The industry ministry has said that expanding the use of
nuclear energy, which creates less carbon emissions than
fossil fuels, is indispensable to achieving the goal. But some
lawmakers and conservation groups oppose wider use of nuclear
power, citing radioactive toxic waste that poses numerous
disposal problems.
The draft also said it is an urgent task for Japan to
access overseas energy resources, referring to securing
concessions for oil fields and metal mines in other countries.

It said 38 per cent of the energy that Japan consumes is
supplied through nuclear and other domestically generated
power as well as through overseas energy projects in which
Japan holds development rights.

The ministry aims to raise the "self-sufficiency ratio in
a broader sense" to nearly 70 per cent by 2030.

Priority should also be placed on promoting the public
use of clean and renewable energy, created through solar and
wind power generation.

As for people`s daily lives, the draft guideline said the
government should encourage consumers to switch to
energy-efficient appliances and hybrid and other
environmentally friendly vehicles.

The ministry is aiming to halve carbon emissions by
households and vehicles by 2030.


First Published: Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 21:01

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