A plan setting a share of 20% to 22% for nuclear power in Japan's energy mix by 2030 has been approved by a consultative committee. While scaling back fossil fuel use, the plan also calls for an expansion of renewable energy sources.
The long-term energy supply and demand outlook subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved the draft report on 1 June.
The report, by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), says that total energy demand in Japan will increase from 940 TWh in 2013 to 980.8 TWh in 2030.
In 2013, LNG accounted for 43.2% of Japan's power generation, with 30.3% coming from coal and 14.9% from oil. Nuclear accounted for just 1.7%, with the remainder coming from renewable sources, according to figures from the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF).
|Japan looks to transform its energy mix by 2030 (Image: JAIF)
METI's report calls for nuclear energy to account for 20%-22% of power generation by 2030, with 22%-24% coming from renewable energy sources, while coal's share will be reduced to 26%, LNG's to 27% and oil's to just 3%.
According to the draft of the report, the 20% minimum share for nuclear "would be ensured by restarting those nuclear power plants whose safety is eventually confirmed", JAIF noted.
Following a one-month period for public consultation, the report will be formally approved by METI.
Japan published its fourth Basic Energy Plan - previous plans were passed in 2003, 2007 and 2010 - in April 2014. In it, METI considered nuclear power to be a quasi-domestic source that gives stable power, operates inexpensively and has a low greenhouse gas profile. However, the ministry noted that nuclear must be developed with safety as a priority and with constant work on preparedness for emergency. Nuclear power is an 'important power source that supports the stability of the energy supply and demand structure' it said.
Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) chairman Makoto Yagi said at a 22 May press conference, "We believe that energy policy is a core policy of a nation, and must be approached from a medium- to long-term standpoint, based on a broad perspective in terms of the S+3E policy (safety, energy security, economic efficiency and environmental conservation), especially as Japan has few energy resources."
He added, "In this regard, we consider that the draft proposal indicates a well-balanced generation mix overall for achieving all three Es. For nuclear power, the new draft proposal sets a clear numerical capacity to be secured, in line with the Strategic Energy Policy which stated earlier that the 'necessary capacity of nuclear power must be determined'. We consider this an important step forward."
Yagi said, "The key in moving forward is how to implement the new energy mix that the government has set. The power companies will meet the S+3E policies and contribute to the energy policy of Japan by maintaining and establishing generation facilities as appropriate, fully in line with the government's policies."
However, he added, "We ask the government to consider what kind of policies and environment are required to formulate an optimum energy mix."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News