LDP Panel Urges Baseload Power Ratio for Japan at Global Levels

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.

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