nuclear energy for more than 20 percent of its total power output in
2030, compared with about 30 percent before the Fukushima nuclear
disaster started in March 2011, sources said.
Following the triple reactor core meltdown at Tokyo Electric
Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the government initially
looked to reduce the nation’s dependence on nuclear energy as much as
possible, issuing incentives that led to a glut in solar energy.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry meanwhile plans
to secure the nation’s base load output from such stable sources as
atomic power, coal-fired power plants and hydroelectric power, at the
international standard of about 60 percent.
In fiscal 2013, coal-fired and hydroelectric power plants
accounted for 30 percent and 9 percent, respectively, of the nation’s
total power output.
If the base load is to be raised to the envisioned level,
Japan’s dependence on nuclear energy will have to exceed 20 percent,
because of difficulties in substantially boosting the output from
thermal and hydroelectric power generation, the sources said Thursday.
All of the nation’s nuclear power plants have remained
offline since the Fukushima disaster triggered a rethink of nuclear
safety throughout the country.
In a related development Thursday, the ruling Liberal
Democratic Party adopted a proposal to achieve the 60 percent base load
share at a nuclear power policy panel meeting.
An increasing number of LDP members are leaning in favor of
reviving the use of nuclear energy to curb climbing electricity bills.
But other members are criticizing the base load expansion
plan as a scheme solely designed to sustain the use of nuclear power,
which the government has heavily invested in for decades to offset
Japan’s dependence on energy imports.
An industry ministry panel is expected to come up with a
specific proposal on the “best energy source mix” for the country by the
end of this month, at the earliest.