Fumio Kishida, Japan’s prime minister, said Wednesday that he has directed his administration to examine creating safer, smaller nuclear reactors, signifying a renewed emphasis on nuclear energy years after several of the country’s units were shut down.

Kishida made the remark during a seminar on bolstering the country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Japan has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

After the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, anti-nuclear sentiment and safety concerns spiked in Japan, but the government has been pushing for a return to nuclear energy amid concerns about power shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a global push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the administration previously stated that it was not considering building new plants or replacing aging reactors. Kishida’s statement on Wednesday signals a significant shift from his previous position.

Following the Fukushima disaster, most of Japan’s nuclear power reactors were shut down for safety assessments under stricter requirements.

To deal with the energy crisis, the administration has already announced plans to restart up to nine reactors by winter. It intends to restart seven additional reactors by next summer and to extend the operational life of aged reactors.

Source: AP News

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