Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Uncertain power: a return to nuclear energy for Japan?

(Read article summary)
View video

Koji Sasahara/AP/File

(Read caption) In this July 2012 file photo, protesters in Tokyo shout slogans during a rally stage against the restart of a nuclear reactor. Japan's economics minister has announced that many more nuclear reactors may be restarted if the Nuclear Regulation Authority deems them to be safe for operation, according to

View photo

Following the earthquake and tsunamis that hit the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last year, Japan’s entire fleet of 50 nuclear power plants were shut down.

Two reactors were fired up at the Ohi power plant a few weeks ago after the Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda, made the decision in order to stave off potential power cuts during the summer months. (RELATED: What the Future Holds for U.S. Energy Policy)

About these ads

The decision to restart the two reactors roused the anti-nuclear protestors to lead mass demonstrations in major cities across the nation, including Tokyo

Recommended:Obama vs. Romney 101: 7 ways they differ on energy issues

So what response might this latest bit of new bring? 

The Economics Minister Seji Maehara has announced that the many more nuclear reactors may be restarted if the new nuclear watchdog, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) deems them to be safe for operation. (RELATED: Iran's People Suffer as Oil Income Protects the Government from Hyperinflation)

This news comes only a month or so after the government voted to end Japan’s nuclear power industry by the 2030s. After that decision was made the powerful nuclear industry lobbies flexed their muscles causing ministers to retreat slightly, and claim that many other factors must be considered before they can truly commit to abandoning nuclear energy.

Maehara has suggested that the nuclear reactors in Japan could still be an important source of power in Japan.

“If safety is approved, such reactors would be considered as an important power source. We should rely on nuclear as an energy option for the time being.”