Kan calls for Japan to phase out nuclear power

19 July 2011

Japan’s prime minister, Naoto Kan has called for his country to become a nuclear-free society.

Speaking at a press conference on 13 July 2011, Kan said the Japan should reduce its dependence on nuclear power in a planned and gradual manner and should “strive to achieve a society that does not depend on nuclear power.”

Phasing out of nuclear power in Japan will not be an easy task. In 2010, nuclear power accounted for almost 30% of Japan’s electricity generation. The country currently has 54 reactors, but on 11 July only 19 of these were operating.

Kan said that although it is too early to give details, nuclear power would be phased out gradually in medium- and long-term energy plans.

According to the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum this is the first time that an incumbent Japanese prime minister had spoken of shifting to a non-nuclear policy.

The policy has already met with opposition in Japan and calls for more detailed consideration.

Chairman Makoto Yagi of the Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC) of Japan said: “A major review of national energy policy is an extremely important matter involving the fundamentals of Japan’s future. If the direction is wrong, future problems will be great. We should develop the arguments nationally, based on the examination of solid data.”

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NRC task force recommendations

Clarifying the regulatory framework

1. The Task Force recommends establishing a logical, systematic, and coherent regulatory framework for adequate protection that appropriately balances defense-in-depth and risk considerations. (Section 3)

Ensuring protection

2. The Task Force recommends that the NRC require licensees to reevaluate and upgrade as necessary the design-basis seismic and flooding protection of structures, systems, and components for each operating reactor. (Section 4.1.1)

3. The Task Force recommends, as part of the longer term review, that the NRC evaluate potential enhancements to the capability to prevent or mitigate seismically induced fires and floods. (Section 4.1.2)

Enhancing mitigation

4. The Task Force recommends that the NRC strengthen station blackout mitigation capability at all operating and new reactors for design-basis and beyond-design-basis external events. (Section 4.2.1)

5. The Task Force recommends requiring reliable hardened vent designs in boiling water reactor facilities with Mark I and Mark II containments. (Section 4.2.2)

6. The Task Force recommends, as part of the longer-term review, that the NRC identify insights about hydrogen control and mitigation inside containment or in other buildings as additional information is revealed through further study of the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident. (Section 4.2.3)

7. The Task Force recommends enhancing spent fuel pool makeup capability and instrumentation for the spent fuel pool. (Section 4.2.4)

8. The Task Force recommends strengthening and integrating onsite emergency response capabilities such as emergency operating procedures, severe accident management guidelines, and extensive damage mitigation guidelines. (Section 4.2.5)

Strengthening emergency preparedness

9. The Task Force recommends that the NRC require that facility emergency plans address prolonged station blackout and multiunit events. (Section 4.3.1)

10. The Task Force recommends, as part of the longer-term review, that the NRC pursue additional emergency preparedness topics related to multiunit events and prolonged station blackout. (Section 4.3.1)

11. The Task Force recommends, as part of the longer-term review, that the NRC should pursue emergency preparedness topics related to decision-making, radiation monitoring, and public education. (Section 4.3.2)

Improving the efficiency of NRC programmes

12. The Task Force recommends that the NRC strengthen regulatory oversight of licensee safety performance (i.e., the Reactor Oversight Process) by focusing more attention on defense-in-depth requirements consistent with the recommended defense-in-depth framework. (Section 5.1)

FilesNRC 90-day task force report

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