POWER UTILITY | Staff Reporter, Japan

Most Japanese firms oppose nuclear power

About three in four Japanese companies support abandoning nuclear power as a source of electricity.

Most of these companies, however, said Japan should first secure its renewable energy sources that will replace nuclear power. A survey that came to these conclusions also showed a deep public distrust of nuclear power following the Fukushima nuclear incident of March 2011.

The survey revealed that 27% of respondents were opposed to the idea of eliminating nuclear power while 18% fully supported ending it. A 55% majority backed abandoning nuclear power as long as alternative energy resources are secured.

All of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors are now off-line due to scheduled maintenance. Re-opening these plants has run into widespread and vociferous opposition from the public.

The government is struggling to finalize a revamp of Japan's energy program, which previously called for an increase in the use of nuclear power to meet 50% of the nation's electricity needs. The figure stood at about 30% before Fukushima, and should drop from zero to 35% by 2030.

Experts said Japan could live without nuclear power if it wanted to but would then have to rely on thermal power until alternative sources are found. The question is whether companies are ready to put up with higher costs and lower growth.

Until alternative resources and safety are secured, Japan should not seek to make a straight choice between pursuing nuclear power or abandoning it.

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