Japanese Set Goal To Phase Out Nuclear Power by 2040

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The Japanese government says it will seek to phase out all nuclear power plants by 2040, although officials suggested that the target remains flexible.

The new energy strategy, which places a 40-year lifespan on nuclear reactors and limits construction of new plants, would continue a national shift away from nuclear power following last year’s disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power station.

Earlier this year Japan suspended operations at the last of its 50 nuclear power stations over public safety concerns. Most of the plants remain off-line. In announcing the new plan, Motohisa Furukawa, Japan’s minister of state for national policy, left open the possibility that five reactors that will be younger than 40 at the end of the 2030s will be allowed to remain in operation.

In addition, Furukawa indicated that the central government would ultimately bow to a newly formed nuclear panel over such policy questions, the New York Times reported. Nuclear power provided nearly 30 percent of the nation’s electricity before the 2011 disaster, and many have questioned whether the country can meet its power needs without a nuclear sector.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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