Visitors observe the No. 2 reactor building, left, and the No. 3 reactor building on the grounds of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in February.
March 12, 2019
GLOBAL ENERGY SHIFT
In January, the Renewable Energy Institute released a report saying nuclear power generation is losing its competitiveness globally.
While the costs of nuclear energy have risen due to enhanced safety requirements following the Fukushima accident, the report says, those of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power have fallen, thanks to technological innovations.
Some countries, including Germany and South Korea, have decided to phase out nuclear power generation. In other major countries, including the United States and Britain, the share of nuclear power in the overall power supply has dropped because of the rise of renewable energy.
Even France, a leading nuclear power producer, plans to significantly lower its dependence on atomic energy. In China and India, where the government has been eager to promote nuclear power, renewable energy production is growing faster than nuclear power generation.
Nuclear power once accounted for 17 percent of the world’s total electricity production, but it is now responsible for only around 10 percent of the global power output. In sharp contrast, the share of renewable energy has risen to nearly a quarter of the total. The International Energy Agency predicts that renewable energy will contribute 40 percent of the world’s energy supply in 2040.
A big global energy shift from nuclear power to renewable energy is taking place.
RESPONSIBLE DECISIONS NEEDED
The Abe administration’s efforts to promote exports of nuclear power technology, a key component of its growth strategy, have run into the sands in Britain and Turkey.
It is a big irony that a nation that has suffered a catastrophic nuclear accident is making frustrating efforts to sell its nuclear technology to other countries while repercussions from the accident are driving the world toward a new energy future.
This nation’s government still continues devoting huge amounts of resources to maintaining nuclear power generation, which is clearly in decline worldwide, while putting renewable energy, which will assume growing importance in the coming years, on the back burner. Sticking to this policy would cause Japan to be left out of the emerging mega-energy trend.
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