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Japan to cut emphasis on nuclear in next energy plan: sources via DW

apan will cut reliance on nuclear power when it releases an updated energy plan as early as next year, reflecting public opposition and a recognition that current policy is unrealistic, three sources familiar with official thinking told Reuters.

The move is expected to boost the country’s use of renewable energy, but will also likely cement its drive towards cheaper coal-fired generation following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis and the shutdown of reactors.

Public resistance to nuclear has remained strong in Japan, and a target by the pro-nuclear industry ministry for nuclear to provide about a fifth of the country’s electricity provoked widespread criticism when it was finalized in 2015.

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At the same time, only two of the country’s 42 reactors are currently operating following safety shutdowns, and the industry faces a raft of constraints including aging units and legal challenges.

A target of 10-15 percent for nuclear by 2030 has been mooted, one of the sources said, down from 20-22 percent under current policy.

Cutting nuclear will likely mean higher targets for renewable energy, said Tomas Kaberger, energy and environment professor at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, who as chairman of the Renewable Energy Institute in Tokyo is a regular visitor to Japan.

“There is a more realistic attitude toward nuclear power taking hold in Japan so it would not surprise me to see a significantly larger role for renewable energy in the next energy plan,” Kaberger told Reuters while in Tokyo earlier this week.
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