‘A form of self-destruction’: Japan weighs up plan to expand nuclear power

(The Guardian, 30 Nov 2022) Japan’s prime minister is pushing for as many as 17 nuclear reactors to be switched back on, more than a decade on from the meltdown at Fukushima.

Look carefully through the trees, and it is just possible to catch sight of Onagawa nuclear power plant from its visitors’ centre, perched on a hill surrounded by thick woods.

The plant’s supporters may have had its remote location, on a rugged peninsula in Japan’s north-east, in mind when they campaigned to bring nuclear power – and the promise of subsidies – to the town more than 40 years ago.

Despite its seclusion, the plant is now in the political spotlight, as Japan prepares to again put its faith in nuclear power, more than a decade after the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi.

In a sweeping change to the country’s energy policy, the prime minister, Fumio Kishida, has announced plans to build next-generation reactors and restart those left idle after the 2011 triple meltdown, in an attempt to end Japan’s dependence on imported fossil fuels and help meet its net zero target by 2050.

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The Guardian, 30 Nov 2022: ‘A form of self-destruction’: Japan weighs up plan to expand nuclear power