Japan to Phase Out Nuclear Power
The Japanese government unveiled a plan today to phase out nuclear power over the next three decades, signaling a dramatic shift in energy policy 18 months after the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
The proposed policy calls for more reliance on renewable energy, greater conservation and sustainable use of fossil fuels, a move business leaders have argued would do more harm than good to Asia’s second largest economy.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said, the nuclear-free decision finally put Japan “at the starting line.”
“This is a difficult issue, but we can no longer afford to postpone our decision,” Noda said in a cabinet meeting.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster last year prompted a review of Japan’s long-standing energy policy. The reactor meltdowns, triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami, forced power companies to shut down all 50 of Japan’s reactors, an unprecedented move for a country that relied on nuclear power for one-third of its energy supply. Noda approved the restart of two reactors in July, to avoid power outages during the summer.