Japan is planning a dramatic shift back to nuclear power more than a decade on from the Fukushima disaster, aiming to restart a sweep of idled reactors and to develop new plants using next-generation technologies, Bloomberg reports.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that the government will explore development and construction of new reactors as the country aims to avoid new strains on power grids that buckled under heavy demand this summer, and to curb the nation’s reliance on energy imports.
At the same time, Japan wants to restart seven more nuclear reactors from next summer onward, Kishida said at a government meeting on “green transformation.” That would bring the number of reactors brought back online after the 2011 Fukushima catastrophe to 17 out of a total 33 operable units.
“Nuclear power and renewables are essential to proceed with a green transformation,” Kishida said. “Russia’s invasion changed the global energy situation.”
Kishida’s government has been considering a new expansion of nuclear power after struggling to contend with the impact of extreme weather and a global fuel shortage on electricity supply. The nation’s capital has seen two major power crunches this year, including during the worst heat wave for the end of June in more than a century.
Countries around the world are revisiting atomic energy after Russia’s war in Ukraine upended fossil fuel markets and sent power bills surging.