Japan Likely to Reembrace Nuclear Power in Wake of Elections

From Science Insider

By Dennis Normile

Japan’s plans to phase out nuclear power and boost reliance on renewable energy are likely to be reversed with the victory of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in parliamentary elections.

In voting on Sunday, LDP captured control of the legislature’s lower, more powerful house from the Democratic Party of Japan. The Democratic Party, in office since 2009, had set a goal of phasing out nuclear power during the 2030s as part of a new energy policy developed in response to the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster.

All but two of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors are now idled because of public worries about seismic resistance. LDP candidates had called for restarting the reactors for energy security and cost reasons. The party, which has led the country for most of the past half-century, “would like to go back to the way it was before Fukushima” in relying heavily on nuclear energy, says Koichi Nakano, a professor of political science at Sophia University in Tokyo.

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