The Japanese government on Thursday approved a new policy to maximize the use of nuclear energy at a major tipping point after Japan shut down most of its reactors in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The Nuclear Reactor Guidelines were approved by an advisory committee headed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, The Japan Times report.
The guidelines call for the development of next-generation reactors and allow reactor life to be extended from the current maximum of 60 years. We can also replace aging reactors with new reactors to ensure a stable power supply.
The approval came a day after Japan’s nuclear oversight body, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, approved a draft review of nuclear reactor safety regulations. New policies must be enshrined in law and approved by parliament.
Kishida said he plans to have the Cabinet approve the policy and submit the necessary bills to the Diet.
Nuclear energy produces radioactive waste that endangers human health, but Kishida promised the government would set up a final disposal site to ensure proper disposal.
“We will do our utmost to tackle the back-end problem of high-level radioactive waste.” report.
Under the new policy, operators of nuclear reactors that have been operating for 30 years must develop a long-term reactor management plan and obtain regulatory approval at least once every ten years to continue operating. .
The government plans to expand power lines more than eight-fold over the next decade as part of efforts to maximize the use of nuclear energy.
Under the new policy, Japan will also promote the development and construction of “next-generation innovative reactors” to replace the approximately 20 reactors currently set for decommissioning.
The move follows Kishida’s call in August to put more reactors into operation and develop new plants using next-generation technology. He said nine more reactors should be operational by winter to prevent power shortages.
“In order to overcome the imminent power supply crisis, we need to mobilize all possible policies in the next few years and take maximum measures to prepare for any emergency,” Kishida said. .
After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan had allowed only 10 of its 33 operational reactors to restart. But rising energy prices, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and summer and winter power outages have forced the government to reactivate several nuclear power plants.
On June 27, the government issued a warning of a strained power supply as Japan endured extreme heat. In addition, in March 2022, an energy warning was issued due to the cold wave and shutdown of power plants caused by the earthquake that occurred near Fukushima Prefecture.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.