May 16, 2018 / 6:45 AM / 2 months ago

Japan backs role of nuclear power in 2030 energy plan

    TOKYO, May 16 (Reuters) - Japan released a draft of an
updated basic energy policy on Wednesday, leaving its ideal mix
of power sources for 2030 in line with targets set three years
ago, despite criticism it places too much emphasis on unpopular
nuclear power.
    The industry ministry draft said nuclear should account for
20-22 percent of power supply in 2030 and renewables 22-24
percent, in line with the trade ministry's goals set in 2015.
Fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, account for the rest.
    Many experts view the nuclear target as difficult to achieve
in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster which led to a big
shift in public opinion after it exposed industry and regulator
failings and led to the shutdown of all the country's reactors.
    Nuclear plant restarts have been protracted and Japan's
reliance on imported coal and natural gas has surged, raising
costs for businesses and consumers.
    In the financial year through March 2017, fossil fuels
accounted for 83 percent of Japan's electricity, renewables 15
percent and nuclear just 2 percent. Only five of Japan's 40
commercially viable reactors are operating.
    The 2030 plan also left the door open to building new
nuclear plants to help meet long-term emissions targets to
combat climate change.
    Japan aims to reduce its carbon emissions by 26 percent from
2013 levels by 2030 and by 80 percent by 2050, targets that
informed the latest policy update.
    Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi recently said Japan
should shift investment in nuclear to renewables, aiming to
derive all of its future power from sources like solar and wind
in his latest call to abandon nuclear power.
    Opposition to nuclear along with use of coal, the dirtiest
fossil fuel, has also come from within the government.
    An energy task force advising Japan's foreign minister in
February proposed boosting renewable energy and shifting away
from coal-fired and nuclear power at home, arguing the country's
policies are outdated and undermine its global competitiveness.
 
    Cabinet is scheduled to approve the revised basic energy
plan around July. The government revises its basic energy plan
once every three to four years.
    The following table lists Japan's power mix ratio targets
for 2030 set in 2015.
  Power source       Pct
    Geothermal   1.0-1.1
       Biomass   3.7-4.6
          Wind       1.7
         Solar         7
         Hydro   8.8-9.2
       Nuclear     20-22
           LNG        27
           Oil         3
          Coal        26
         Total       100
    
    Following is a breakdown of Japan's electricity power mix
goals for the 2030/31 fiscal year in comparison with the actual
mix in 2010/11 and 2016/17.

                   2010     2016       2030
     Renewable   10 pct   15 pct  22-24 pct
       Nuclear   25 pct    2 pct  22-20 pct
   Fossil fuel   65 pct   83 pct     56 pct
 
  

 (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; editing by Aaron Sheldrick and
Richard Pullin)
  
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