Japan's Parliament on Wednesday passed a law extending the life of nuclear reactors beyond 60 years, with the aim of improving the country's electricity supply and helping it meet its climate targets.
The war in Ukraine and rising fuel prices were some of the reasons cited for the approval today in the Japanese Parliament of a law that will extend the useful life of Japan's nuclear reactors to more than 60 years.
The rationale, according to the so-called Green Transformation and Decarbonization Energy Sources Act, is to reduce carbon emissions and ensure an adequate energy supply.
The measure reverses a strict regulation introduced after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, which limited reactor lifetimes to 40 years and up to 60 years if safety inspections were carried out.
Due to its scarcity of natural resources, Japan imports its fossil fuels and has suffered steep price hikes for its energy after the outbreak of the Ukrainian war.
Until the Fukushima accident, Japan generated 30 percent of its electricity consumption in nuclear power plants.
The dismantling of the Fukushima reactors will take several decades and in the coming months the water used for cooling them is expected to be dumped into the sea, which has caused alarm in neighboring Pacific countries despite the fact that the management company assures that it is harmless.
The entire Japanese nuclear fleet was taken out of service following the catastrophe at the Fukushima power plant, which was triggered by a gigantic tsunami.
Of the 33 reactors theoretically operating in the country, only 10 have since returned to operation, after having been brought up to stricter safety standards.