Japan’s nuclear power industry has faced its most difficult decade since the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi NPP. All the nation’s reactor were entirely shut down at one point. Now, after years of headwinds, the industry is starting to gather positive momentum.
Eight reactors (over 7 GW) have restarted in the last six and a half months. One or two more may come online later this year. If they do, Japan will have the most functioning nuclear capacity since the accident.
Still, amid the optimism inside the nuclear industry, there are still a number of challenges, and not only about critical public opinion or the volatility of courts and local government decisions. “Carbon-neutral” solutions for thermal plants will give nuclear a tight race as a provider of large-scale CO2-free baseload power.
A Decade in Nuclear: an Overview
- Before the March 2011 accident, Japan had the world’s third-largest nuclear capacity. When counting reactors under construction, it had 57 units on the books. For comparison, France, has 58 operational reactors today.
- After the Fukushima event, Japan introduced much stricter technical and operational rules and set up a new regulatory body, the NRA, with a mandate to be tougher and a lot more independent than its predecessor, which enjoyed close relations with industry players.
- As a result of the shakeup ….