LDP Panel Urges Baseload Power Ratio for Japan at Global Levels

(Bloomberg) — A panel from Japan’s ruling party Tuesday
recommended the nation get its electricity from baseload sources
on par with other developed countries, suggesting high-level
backing for nuclear power and coal.

“Ratios of baseload power in many European and American
countries are currently more than 60 percent, although they are
on a declining trend,” the panel, comprised of lawmakers from
the Liberal Democratic Party, concluded. “Japan needs to have a
level that’s internationally comparable.”

The report, which was submitted to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is part of a broader review of Japan’s energy policy
following the earthquake and Fukushima nuclear disaster in March
2011. The recommendations will also be presented to the minister
of trade, whose ministry has its own panel to debate the
composition of Japan’s electricity supply.

Japan derived more than 60 percent of its electricity
before the Fukushima accident from baseload sources including
almost 29 percent from nuclear, according to the Federation of
Electric Power Companies of Japan. Baseload refers to
electricity produced from geothermal, hydro, nuclear and coal.

The report serves as a strong indication that policy makers
see a leading role for nuclear power in Japan, even after
Fukushima stoked safety fears and sparked a public movement to
oppose atomic energy.

According to the LDP panel’s proposals, Japan should aim to
increase its energy self-sufficiency rate to about 25 percent,
countering a trend to rely more on imported fuels since the 2011
disaster. The ratio before the 2011 earthquake was 20 percent,
it said.

The panel also said the cost of electricity should be cut
to levels seen before Fukushima even as the country aims to
expand clean energy and reduce its reliance on nuclear power.

The recommendations envision what Japan’s power generation
mix should look like by 2030. The trade ministry panel in charge
of setting the mix has been meeting since January.

Japan’s 48 operable reactors are currently shut, pending
safety checks.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo at
cwatanabe5@bloomberg.net;
Emi Urabe in Tokyo at
eurabe@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Iain Wilson, Indranil Ghosh

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