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Japan May Phase Out Nuclear Power by 2030

Rumors swirl about draft report on post-Fukushima energy policy

1 min read
Japan May Phase Out Nuclear Power by 2030

It's big, if tentative, news: The Japanese government's forthcoming energy policy may call for phasing out nuclear power entirely by the year 2030. The information comes from Kyodo News, which quoted unnamed sources who had reportedly seen the draft energy policy. The final and official version may be released before the week's end.

It wouldn't be a complete surprise. In the wake of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster Japan has been forced to rethink its reliance on nuclear power, which in 2010 generated 26 percent of the country’s electricity. In the year and a half since Fukushima's triple meltdown, the government had discussed several different plans for altering the country's energy mix, but almost all called for scaling back or eliminating nuclear power.

With continued anti-nuclear protests on the streets of Tokyo, it now seems likely that the government will opt for a gradual but complete phase-out of all nuclear power in the country. This will require decommissioning all 54 of Japan's nuclear reactors. Currently, only the Oi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture is operating

According to the early news reports, the phase-out is unequivocal: "We will devote all policy resources to achieving zero nuclear power generation in the 2030s," the draft reportedly states.

However, there are conflicting reports on other details. Some newspapers report that the government will stop its ambitious attempt to recycle nuclear fuel and will instead investigate permanent storage; other publications say that the much-delayed and troubled reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture will continue construction.

We'll bring you more information as we get it.

Photo: TEPCO

The Conversation (0)
This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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