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Reducing nuclear power to 15% of total power supply

May 25, 2012

Hosono in favor of atomic power comprising 15% of Japan's energy



TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Environment Minister Goshi Hosono said Friday he believes Japan's new energy policy, to be released this summer, can be based on the idea of reducing nuclear power to 15 percent of the nation's total electricity supply.

Hosono said "15 percent can be one base," while noting that limiting the operation of nuclear reactors to 40 years is the government's policy and the 15 percent idea is in line with the policy.

But Hosono also said, "A number of options were presented. They are being discussed by experts, and I do not rule out any options."

His comments came a day after an advisory panel to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry explored five options for the future composition of Japan's energy sources.

The five options presented by the panel calls on the government to seek a society where nuclear power represents either zero percent, 15 percent, 20-25 percent or 35 percent in 2030, compared with 26 percent that nuclear energy accounted for in fiscal 2010. The other option calls on the government not to set numerical targets for future energy composition, letting it instead be determined by the market.

Nippon Steel Corp. Chairman Akio Mimura, who heads the panel, said Thursday after the panel's 24th meeting that he aims to finalize the panel's proposals at its next meeting next week. The expert panel's proposals are then to be submitted to the Energy and Environment Council as inputs of the nation's new energy policy to be put together this summer.

Under the conventional energy policy compiled before the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, the government used to seek an increase in the nation's reliance on nuclear energy to 45 percent of total power supply by 2030 through the construction of new reactors on the basis of figures comparable to the panel's proposed options.

Since former Prime Minister Naoto Kan decided to reconsider Japan's energy policy from scratch in the wake of the nuclear crisis, triggered by the massive March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the panel has been mulling policy options for the nation's future energy mix composition.

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