Restarting Nuclear Reactors Seen As Best Energy Option for Japan

Japan’s “best option” against oil and gas shortages caused by economic sanctions imposed on Russia is to restart the nuclear reactors that were closed after the Fukushima nuclear accident, a ruling party lawmaker said.

Itsunori Onodera, a former defence minister and senior lawmaker in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said that an oil embargo will have a hard impact not only Russia but Japan as well.

“It’s a question of whether we could endure this,” Onodera told reporters.

Russia is Japan’s fifth largest supplier of oil and natural gas.

The best option in the event that Japan faced fossil fuel shortages would be to speed up the restart of Japanese nuclear reactors, Onodera suggested.

“If we could have the nuclear reactors working, if we could speed that up, if you could obtain the understanding of the people after having verified safety – speeding up inspections and then speeding up the restarts, that’s definitely a choice,” said Onodera.

Most Japanese reactors are still undergoing relicensing processes. Heavy safety standards on nuclear plants were imposed after an earthquake and a tsunami caused a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Plant in 2011.

Japan currently has six operating reactors. It was 54 before Fukushima.

The U.S. had said that it was considering a full oil embargo on Russia, a major oil and gas exporter. Russia retorted to the threat that it would stop its supply of gas to the European Union if the embargo pushes through.

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