11 May 2011

Nuclear ambition now under review by Japan

2:51 pm on 11 May 2011

Japan is reconsidering a plan that would have seen its reliance on nuclear energy rise to meet 50% of its needs.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan says Japan now needs to put more effort into renewable energy and energy conservation following the earthquake and tsunami that caused a major crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

The plant has been leaking radiation since 11 March.

Mr Kan said the government has had to shoulder much of the blame for its reliance on the nuclear industry.

He said Japan had to start from scratch with its energy plans following the disaster.

The BBC reports nuclear plants currently supply about 30% of Japan's electricity.

Mr Kan described nuclear power as a "major pillar" of Japanese society, along with fossil fuels. However, other forms of energy would also be key in the future.

More than 80,000 people living within a 20km radius of the plant have been evacuated from their homes. The Tokyo Electric Power Copany (Tepco) has asked for government help to compensate those affected.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda hinted that the government would give Tepco some form of support.