Japan to shape post-Fukushima energy options by spring

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 21, 2011 7:53 AM
Japan to shape post-Fukushima energy options by spring

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan plans to come up with options by next spring for its new energy policy, which will aim to manage the risks of nuclear power, select energy sources to reduce reliance on nuclear and help head off climate change, the government said on Wednesday.

The Fukushima atomic crisis, triggered by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, has prompted Japan's government to review its previous energy policy from scratch.

Prior to the disaster, Japan had planned to boost nuclear generation to more than 50 percent of its electricity by 2030 from around 30 percent now, partly to fight climate change.

Economics Minister Motohisa Furukawa, who also chairs a ministerial panel on energy and environment that is the key driver for post-Fukushima energy policy, said he did not have any pre-set image or period of time for options to apply.

"We don't have anything concrete in our mind at present on what options will look like," Furukawa told reporters after a panel. He added that such options would be presented by the end of March.

Furukawa said three sub-panels of experts --- one on climate change policy, another on the balance of a new energy portfolio and the Japan Atomic Energy Commission on nuclear policy --- will hold discussions in coming months, and the government will bring together their conclusions into a range of options by next spring.

An actual energy strategy will be in place by summer, based on public debate on these options, he said.

In an interim report in July compiled by Furukawa's panel, ministers agreed that Japan should come up with a new policy through open debate using scientific data.

They also agreed the country's post-Fukushima goals should include weaning itself away from dependence on nuclear power and making changes to accept more user-oriented energy supply structures.

(Reporting by Risa Maeda, editing by Jane Baird)