Current Status of Japan’s Nuclear Power 2021

The government of Japan published a draft of the 6th Strategic Energy Plan in August 2021 following an interval of three years since the previous plan in 2018. After hearing public comments and carrying out reviews among the relevant ministries, the draft was finally adopted by the Cabinet in October. Based on the plan, this report makes an objective analysis of the current situation of nuclear power in Japan and provides a realistic view of projections towards 2030.

The government assumes that if the existing 27 nuclear power plants are in operation in 2030 with a capacity factor of 70-80 %, then it could be possible for nuclear power generation to have a 20-22% share in the energy mix. However, in 2021, there are only 10 nuclear power plants that have been restarted since the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011. To enable a restart, plants must pass a review by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) and obtain local consent from host municipalities. This report identified three challenges (low capacity factor, long review period and local opposition) and carried out a scenario analysis. If three of the 27 plants do not restart by 2030, the government assumption of 20% nuclear power will not be possible.