JAPAN | Japan to seek to scale back nuclear power in new energy strategy

Posted on July 29, 2011

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JAPAN | MAINICHI | 29 July 2011

An artist's drawing of a solar power generation system that the University of Tokyo's endowed chair is planning to build in Saudi Arabia. (Courtesy of the University of Tokyo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan will draw up a scenario for reducing the country’s reliance on nuclear power in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi atomic power plant, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said as the government decided on the outline of the country’s energy policy Friday.

The government also compiled a set of measures to tackle near-term power shortage problems that have emerged as a result of the crisis, touching on issues such as the separation of electricity generation and transmission, but the details were not immediately available.

The outline was agreed during a meeting of Cabinet ministers to discuss energy issues. The government plans to compile a basic policy of its energy strategy by the end of the year based on the content of the outline.

Japan’s energy planning has been thrown into disarray since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in the northeastern region triggered the world’s worst nuclear accident in 25 years.

In this March 20, 2011 aerial file photo taken by a small unmanned drone and released by Air Photo Service, the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is seen in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture. From top to bottom: Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3 and Unit 4.  (AP Photo/Air Photo Service)

In this March 20, 2011 aerial file photo taken by a small unmanned drone and released by Air Photo Service, the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant is seen in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture. From top to bottom: Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3 and Unit 4. (AP Photo/Air Photo Service)

Just before the quake, nuclear power accounted for about 30 percent of the total electricity generated in the country, which has 54 commercial nuclear reactors.

Japan’s basic energy plan endorsed in June 2010 sought to increase the ratio of the country’s reliance on nuclear energy to 53 percent by 2030, but Kan has said that the government has no choice but to scrap the plan in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, which has increased public concerns over the safety of nuclear power.

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