Japan’s New Prime Minister Signals Change in Nuclear Policy

Posted December 29th, 2012 at 5:10 am (UTC-5)
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Japan's new prime minister says the clean-up of the Fukushima power plant, where three reactors melted down after an earthquake and tsunami last year, is “an unprecedented challenge in human history.”

Wearing a protective suit and facemask, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe toured the Tokyo Electric Power Company's facility on Saturday and

thanked workers for the hard work involved in decommissioning the reactors. The prime minister added that his government will give the crews its full support.

Mr. Abe also made it clear that he will review the previous government's plan to phase out nuclear power and spoke of the need for a “responsible energy policy.”

The Democratic Party of Japan was swept out of power in parliamentary elections this month. The return of Mr. Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party signal an impending reversal of plans to end Japan's previous reliance on nuclear power.

Decommissioning is expected to take 40 years and cost 15 billion dollars, plus the unknown cost of disposing of nuclear waste.