Japan should consider building new nuclear plants: Kishida

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Japan should consider building new nuclear power plants, prime minister Fumio Kushida said on Wednesday.

This could be a controversial policy shift after the nation suspended many of its nuclear plants in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

But Mr Kishida said the Ukraine war and soaring energy costs highlighted the need for diversifying energy sources.

He added that nuclear power may be needed to meet Japan’s target of going carbon neutral by 2050.

Aside from considering building next-generation nuclear reactors, the government will also look to restart existing plants that are currently offline and extend their lifespans, Mr Kishida said at an energy policy meeting.

Japan had a nuclear emergency in 2011 when a powerful earthquake triggered a tsunami, flooding the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant on the country’s east coast.

The resulting radiation leak forced more than 150,000 people to evacuate from the area.

The country had 50 operational power reactors, but suspended 46 of them after the disaster, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

As of April 2021, nine reactors had returned to operation while 14 others were under review.

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