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ATOMS in JAPAN

15 March, 2017

Increase in Coal-fired Plants Would Complicate CO2 Emissions Reduction Target

On March 10, Japan's Ministry of the Environment (MOE) released a draft report saying that the continued construction of new coal-fired, CO2-emitting thermal power plants would make it difficult for Japan to achieve its target for reducing CO2 emissions. It then urged power utilities to accelerate their development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

The draft report notes that competition among power companies is becoming severe against the backdrop of electricity market deregulation and the prolonged suspension of the operation of nuclear power plants. It also points out the utilities’ marked tendency to look to the construction of thermal plants using coal, considered a cheap power source. “The situation is highly risky from an environmental viewpoint,” it warns.

Planned new coal-fired plants are expected to start operation in and after 2020. The MOE expressed a strong sense of crisis about that in relation to achieving Japan’s target of reducing CO2 emissions by twenty-six percent from 2013 levels by the year 2030.

When the MOE agreed with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) last year to approve the construction of new coal-fired power plants, it conditioned its agreement on the reinforcement of measures to reduce CO2, which are to be reevaluated every year.

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