Tokyo: Nuclear power will remain a key
part of Japan`s energy policy, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said
on Wednesday, but the government will review oversight of the
industry amid the worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl.
The premier said a special commission would
investigate the crisis that unfolded after a monster tsunami
knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant`s cooling
systems on March 11, leading to reactor meltdowns and the
radiation leaking into the environment.
"The investigation commission on the accident, which
will start meeting soon, should discuss the way Japan
administers its nuclear policies," Kan said, adding that he
hoped "to lay a basic direction for a thorough reform".
But Kan backed the principle of nuclear power, telling
reporters: "If we come up with new ways to use atomic power
more safely... we will naturally utilise atomic power further.
"In the first place a thorough review is needed.
Everything should start from there."
Kan announced that reactors currently suspended for
routine check-ups across the nation would be allowed to resume
operations if they are deemed safe.
Local opposition to restarting reactors suspended for
check-ups has grown since the disaster, although some experts
say any move away from nuclear power would mean using more
fossil fuels they say are more environmentally damaging.
The world`s number three economy generates about 30
percent of its power from nuclear plants.
"Until now, Japan`s energy policies were built with
two major pillars of fossil fuel and nuclear power," Kan said.
"In addition to that, we must add two more pillars of natural
(renewable) energy and energy saving."