Japan draft plan sets ambitious targets for nuclear energy

Japan’s government has proposed an energy plan that sets ambitious targets for nuclear energy use in the coming decade despite challenges after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The draft, presented Wednesday to a government-commissioned panel of experts, says that by fiscal 2030 nuclear energy should account for 20-22 percent of Japan’s total power generation. The Cabinet is expected to approve the plan within weeks.

The targets appear difficult to achieve given that electric utilities are opting to scrap aging reactors rather than pay higher costs to meet post-Fukushima safety standards. Uncertainty over what to do with massive radioactive waste in the crowded island nation is another big concern.

Nuclear energy now accounts for less than 2 percent of Japan’s energy mix since most reactors were idled after the 2011 disaster.

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