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Japan plan keeps nuclear as key energy source

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 25, 2014 at 12:05 am •  Published: February 25, 2014

TOKYO (AP) — Japan unveiled its first draft energy policy since the Fukushima meltdowns three years ago, saying nuclear power remains an important source of electricity for the country.

The draft presented Tuesday to the Cabinet for approval expected in March, said Japan's nuclear energy dependency will be reduced as much as possible, but that reactors meeting new safety standards set after the 2011 nuclear crisis should be restarted.

Japan has 48 commercial reactors, but all are offline until and unless they pass the new safety requirements.

The draft of the Basic Energy Plan said that a mix of nuclear, renewables and fossil fuel will be the most reliable and stable source of electricity to meet Japan's energy needs. It did not specify the exact mix, citing uncertain factors such as the number of reactor restarts and the pace of renewable energy development.

The government had planned to release the draft in January but a recommendation submitted by an expert panel was judged to be too pro-nuclear. Tuesday's draft added slightly more emphasis on renewable energy.

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