Japan should embrace nuclear power, government panel says
TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan should embrace nuclear power as an "important and fundamental" energy source, a government panel said on Friday, in advice that looks almost certain to be accepted, despite widespread anti-nuclear feeling after the Fukushima disaster.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is keen to restart Japan's idled nuclear reactors to cut the cost of fossil fuel imports used by power stations, which have swelled the trade deficit to a record and driven up electricity prices.
The recommendation, if adopted, could put atomic power back into Japan's energy mix after the previous government decided to abandon it following triple meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 plant north of Tokyo, the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
"Nuclear energy is an important and fundamental base energy source that will support the stability of energy demand and supply," the panel wrote in its report, adding that securing safety was paramount in utilising atomic power.