What do you do if your country depended on nuke plants for energy, but is now too freaked out about nuclear disaster to trust them anymore? You harness the awesome nuclear power OF THE SUN! At least that’s the plan of Japan’s prime minister Naoto Kan, who announced an energy policy that may require all new buildings to have solar panels by 2030.
Is this a realistic plan? Well, as the price of solar panels continues to drop, it's pretty clear that there are plenty of places where it will soon be competitive with the retail price of electricity. But it’s not clear how many new buildings Japan — a country with a declining population — will be building in 2030, so this may be a bunch of hot air. (Kan also wants more innovation in renewable energy, blah blah blah.)
Buried in Kan's speech was also the announcement that the country will actually continue to rely on nuclear power. They kind of don't have a choice, on that count: With no native fossil fuel reserves, they're literally over a barrel when it comes to domestic versus imported sources of energy.
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