Nuclear power is key for Japan’s energy security and carbon neutrality goals, minister says

Nuclear power will be key for Japan’s energy security as the country targets carbon neutrality, said Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura.

“I believe that nuclear power is important as we work towards carbon neutrality while ensuring energy security. We are in the direction of planning to increase the overall dependency level in nuclear energy,” Nishimura told CNBC’s Silvia Amaro on the sidelines of the G-20 ministers’ meeting in Indonesia on Saturday.

Nuclear power has often been touted as an important option for decarbonization. In May, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the country will take steps to restart idled nuclear power plants in efforts to stabilize energy supply and prices.

Nishimura added that Japan has secured 10 plants for reactivation and is working toward reactivating seven more starting next year. The minister emphasized the importance of safety while acknowledging the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station accident, when a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

“The price of natural gas and the price of energy are soaring internationally… the energy market is tight,” Nishimura said. On Friday, Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom said it would indefinitely halt gas flows to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, citing the need for additional repairs.

“If Japan reactivates one nuclear plant, it produces 1 million tons’ worth of energy, making it possible for Japan to have secure energy and potentially be self-sufficient,” Nishimura added.

Japan currently depends on imports for 94% of its energy supply.

Price cap on Russian oil

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When asked about the price cap, Nishimura said he is balancing a few considerations:

“We would like to consider the establishment of a stable crude oil market, and also a stable supply and security of crude oil imports to Japan, and while taking this into account, continue to cooperate with the G-7 countries.”

(With Inputs from CNBC)

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