Japan to include nuclear power in mid-term energy policy: source

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 20, 2014 3:52 AM

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will incorporate nuclear power in its mid-term energy policy, citing it as an "important base load" energy source, and aims to approve the plan at a cabinet meeting in March, a source close to the matter told Reuters.

The Japanese public remains divided over nuclear power nearly three years after a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 set off triple nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, some 220 km (130 miles) north of Tokyo.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co, has been plagued by a series of mishaps including radioactive water leaks and power outages. Tepco said on Thursday that it found 100 metric tons of contaminated water had leaked out of a storage tank at the Fukushima site.

It still remains unclear when any of Japan's 48 nuclear reactors can be restarted as it faces stringent checks by an independent regulator.

The government's decision is in line with recommendations put forward by a government panel last year, which wrote that securing safety was paramount in utilizing atomic power.

(Reporting by Kentaro Hamada, Writing by Mari Saito; Editing by Dominic Lau)