Japanese Government Is Strong, Then Weak, On Nuclear Power

Nuclear power is a big deal in Japan. Before the Fukushima power plant emergency in 2011, more than 30 percent of the country’s electricity came from nuclear reactors. Now most Japanese people are adamantly against nuclear power—yet the government seems indecisive. They announced last Friday a plan to completely phase out nuclear power by 2040, but backed off only five days later. In less than a week, the government’s commitment to end its reliance on nuclear power “transformed from bold determination into sheepish second thoughts,” SmartPlanet reports. Nuclear opponents are disappointed, but, as some point out, the country’s nuclear future depends on more than the government taking a firm stance—it is also contingent on the will of electricity users, technological innovation, and the global energy outlook.

Nuclear power is a big deal in Japan. Before the Fukushima power plant emergency in 2011, more than 30 percent of the country’s electricity came from nuclear reactors. Now most Japanese people are adamantly against nuclear power—yet the government seems indecisive. They announced last Friday a plan to completely phase out nuclear power by 2040, but backed off only five days later. In less than a week, the government’s commitment to end its reliance on nuclear power “transformed from bold determination into sheepish second thoughts,” SmartPlanet reports. Nuclear opponents are disappointed, but, as some point out, the country’s nuclear future depends on more than the government taking a firm stance—it is also contingent on the will of electricity users, technological innovation, and the global energy outlook.

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