Japan Switches Nuclear Power Back On, Extends Generous Support for Solar & Wind Power

Surian Soosay/CC BY 2.0

Remember how Japan shut down its last nuclear reactor about a month ago, following public backlash against the safety of that nation's reactors in the wake of the Fukushima disaster?

Well, Japan's nuclear-free status will be short-lived.

In a move intended to avoid anticipated summer blackouts due to lower electricity generation capacity, and to curry favor with business, Japan's prime minister has announced that two reactors will be restarted.

Two reactors at Ohi will be restarted in three weeks, with both fully coming back online in six weeks.

Prior to the nationwide shut down, Japan had 50 nuclear reactors, supplying roughly 30% of the nation's electricity.

Reuters reports 10,000 demonstrators massed outside the prime ministers office to protest the decision. BBC News reports 46% of the Japanese population is opposed to restarting the nation's nuclear power program.

Coming alongside the nuclear re-start is the approval for a generous new feed-in tariff program for renewable energy.

Beginning on July 1, utilities will received the equivalent of $0.53 per kilowatt-hour for solar power and roughly half that for wind power—double the rates of Germany's widely-hailed program for expanding renewable energy.

Tags: Japan | Nuclear Power | Renewable Energy

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