The Japanese cabinet has approved legislation which will allow commercial nuclear power plants to operate longer as part of plans for a nuclear power comeback to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and energy security concerns.
Japan will introduce a new system to grant additional operating extensions every ten years after thirty years of service
In December 2022, Japan adopted a new energy policy promoting greater use of nuclear power as it seeks to ensure a stable power supply amid global fuel shortages and to reduce carbon emissions.
The government adopted a plan to maximize the use of nuclear energy, including accelerating restarts of halted reactors, prolonging the operational life of aging plants and development of next-generation reactors to replace those designated for decommissioning.
Japan has adopted a new energy policy promoting greater use of nuclear power to ensure a stable supply and reduce carbon emissions
Before Fukushima-Daiichi, Japan’s fleet of 54 nuclear plants generated about 30% of the country’s electricity. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency that figure was 7.2% in 2021.
Anti-nuclear sentiment and safety concerns increased in Japan after Fukushima and restart approvals under stricter safety standards have been slow.
According to the Tokyo-based Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, operators have applied for restarts at 27 reactors in the past decade. Seventeen have passed safety checks and only 10 have resumed operations.