Japan’s prime minister stated recently that new reactors can be built as long as people want to. His decision would mean a radical switch from the previous regime’s policy to phase out nuclear power.
“New reactors will be totally different from those at Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi plant that caused the crisis,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on a TV program. “We will be building them with consent obtained from the Japanese people.”
The nuclear accident at the Tepco-operated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant occurred last year after a disastrous earthquake and tsunami. It led to the meltdown of three reactors and to hundreds of employees being forced to evacuate the place. The accident set off Japan’s greatest nuclear crisis and it is considered to be the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, according to the international press.
The nuclear disaster led to a strong public reaction against using nuclear energy. Thus, the previous government of the Democratic Party of Japan, led by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, decided to phase out nuclear power by the 2030s.
Since coming to power, Shinzo Abe’s government has indicated his will to review the previous government’s nuclear energy policy.
During the weekend, Abe visited the disabled Fukushima nuclear reactor and thanked the employees involved in decommissioning the plant.
“I know the decommissioning process is hard work. But it is progressing well and we owe it all to you,” Abe said.
At the moment, only two of Japan’s 50 reactors are working.