Nuclear to help Japan meet climate goals

21 July 2015

Nuclear power generation will play a role in helping Japan meet its post-2020 greenhouse gas emissions targets. The country has announced its intended contribution towards a possible global climate agreement later this year.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced yesterday that it had received Japan's Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC).

According to its INDC, Japan aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by fiscal year 2030 (ending March 2031) compared with fiscal year 2013. This equates to the equivalent of some 1.042 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2030.

This target, it says, is consistent with its energy mix goal and "set as a feasible reduction target by bottom-up calculation with concrete policies, measures and individual technologies taking into adequate consideration, inter alia, technological and cost constraints."

Some 90% of Japan's greenhouse gas emissions come from energy-originated CO2. Under its INDC, emissions of energy-originated CO2 will be reduced by 25% to 927 million tonnes in 2030 from 1235 million tonnes in 2013. Meanwhile, non-energy originated CO2 emissions will be cut by 17% to some 70.8 million tonnes.

Introducing its INDC, Japan says, "Having faced a drastic change in its circumstances with regard to energy due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, Japan decided the new Strategic Energy plan last year as a starting point for reviewing and rebuilding our energy strategy from scratch."

Nuclear energy is expected to account for 20-22% of Japan's power generation in 2030, with a similar portion coming from renewable sources. The remainder of the country's power generation will be met by coal (26%), LNG (27%) and oil (3%), according to Japan's latest energy policy. That policy supports "utilizing nuclear power generation whose safety is confirmed".

All of Japan's nuclear power plants have remained idle after being taken offline following the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident. The first unit is set to resume operation next month, while another 20 reactors are moving through the restart process.

Including Japan, 47 parties have now formally submitted their INDCs to the UNFCCC ahead of the UN climate change conference in Paris in December.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News