Tuesday, September 13, 2022

What is the current situation with nuclear power in Japan?

The Government of Japan has officially announced a revision of the previous course towards a categorical rejection of the construction of new nuclear power plants in the country and expressed its readiness to study the development and construction of next-generation nuclear power reactors. In the medium and long term, this should help the country solve the problem of a stable supply of electricity and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

By the end of the year, it is planned to prepare several specific projects for future NPPs. We are talking about the development of compact reactors of a new type of increased safety, which should be operational in the 2030s.

After the accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant, the Japanese government decided not to build nuclear reactors anymore and not to modernize existing ones. However, such a course, according to Tokyo, has come into conflict with the current situation, when the country is faced with the threat of a shortage of electricity during peak periods of its consumption in hot summers and cold winters. The situation is aggravated by a sharp increase in prices for mineral fuels, which increases the attractiveness of using nuclear power plants.

The Japanese government also announced its intention to revise legislation that requires the use of existing nuclear power plants for a maximum of 60 years. It is now envisaged to authorize an extension of such deadlines subject to the fulfillment of a number of conditions, including security measures.

From the summer of 2023, the government plans to increase the number of nuclear power reactors operating in the country to 17. Currently, only 10 installations are licensed to operate and meet the new security criteria. However, in reality, only five reactors are currently operating, since the rest are stopped for additional checks.

After the accident at the Fukuksim-1 nuclear power plant in the spring of 2011, all nuclear power plants in Japan were shut down. Then some reactors began to be started up again after the adoption of enhanced security measures, including in relation to possible sabotage. In total, the country now has 33 nuclear reactors that are in principle capable of operation. The Government of Japan intends to increase the share of nuclear power plants in the total electricity production in the country to 20-22 percent by fiscal year 2030.

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