Japan Plans Nuclear-Power Revival

MIDDLETOWN, PA - MARCH 28: The Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant is seen in the early morning hours March 28, 2011 in Middletown, Pennsylvania.  (National Journal)

After attempting to phase out existing reactors, Japan is taking a cautious step toward restarting its nuclear-power sector.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe released a draft energy policy proposal on Tuesday that calls nuclear power an important part of the country's future power generation and leaves the door open for the construction of additional nuclear facilities in the island nation.

In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown, Japan shuttered its fleet of nuclear reactors. Then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan pledged that the country would rid itself of nuclear power at a time when emotions and public opinion opposing the energy source ran high.

As a nation, Japan does not have a bounty of other power-generation resources, and a phaseout of nuclear has driven up electricity prices and led to increased burning of fossil fuels.

All this has paved the way for a cautious return to nuclear. Abe shied away from outlining specifics in his plan, however, and did not say how much of the country's baseload power generation is expected to come from nuclear in coming years. The plan is awaiting approval from the Japanese Cabinet before it will take effect.