Country profile: Japan

Summary figures for 2016

The following information is from the NEA publication Nuclear Energy Data, the annual compilation of official statistics and country reports on nuclear energy in OECD member countries.

Country
Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid
Nuclear electricity generation
(net TWh) 2016
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
Japan
42
4.3
*
0.4
 
OECD Pacific
67
179.6
11.0
 
OECD Total
317
1 877.5
18.5
 
NEA Total
352
2 061.1
18.7
 

* NEA estimate; N/A not available.

Country report

The Japanese electricity market was deregulated at the distribution level in April 2016, and the Revised Electricity Business Act 2015 requires the legal separation of generation from transmission and distribution by April 2020. As the first step towards this market reform, the Organization for Cross-Regional Coordination of Transmission Operators was set up in 2015 to assess generation adequacy and to ensure that adequate transmission capacity is available. Before liberalisation, the Electricity Market Surveillance Commission was established in September 2015 as the regulatory authority for electricity under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The Strategic Energy Plan of Japan was revised in 2014 and states that "On the premise that safety comes first and that every possible effort is being made to resolve people's concerns, judgement as to whether nuclear power plants meet the new regulatory requirements will be left to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA). In the case that the NRA confirms conformity of nuclear power plants to the new regulatory requirements, the Japanese government will follow NRA judgement and proceed with the restart of nuclear power plants". Additionally, a new long-term electricity supply policy was set up in July 2015 and envisions nuclear power supplying 20-22% of electricity in Japan in 2030. After the adoption of the 2015 energy strategy, Japan announced its intended, nationally determined contribution (INDC) for COP21 to reduce GHG emissions by 26% from 2013 to 2030. In May 2016, it adopted the Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures.

In accordance with the principles set up in the Strategic Energy Plan, five nuclear reactors are now in operation. Two nuclear reactors, Sendai 1 and Sendai 2, restarted in August and October 2015 for the first time since the new regulation had taken effect after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. These startups were followed by Takahama 3 and Takahama 4 in February and March 2016, respectively. However, a district court injunction then forced the operator to shut down the Takahama units. The Osaka High Court lifted the injunction in March 2017. The Ikata 3 nuclear reactor restarted commercial operation using MOX fuel in September 2016. In December 2016, the government announced that it would permanently close the Monju fast reactor prototype and begin decommissioning.

Japan is taking all necessary measures and promoting related research and development to ensure nuclear non-proliferation and strengthen nuclear security in light of international developments.
The Japanese government is taking thorough measures to minimise the risk of accidents, considering the experience and lessons learnt from the accident in 2011.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2017

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Last reviewed: 6 November 2017