Last week, the prime minister of Japan indicated that his cabinet would adopt a new energy policy including a phaseout of nuclear power.
Today, in an “abrupt turnabout,” the cabinet didn’t. The New York Times:
The reversal came after intense opposition to the plan from business groups and communities that host the country’s nuclear power plants, which have warned that abandoning nuclear power will damage Japan’s economy.
The cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda instead endorsed a vague promise to “engage in debate with local governments and international society and to gain public understanding” in deciding Japan’s economic future in the wake of the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima.
The cabinet on Wednesday said only that it would “take into consideration” the goal to eliminate nuclear power by 2040, laid down in a policy document released last week. …
The deadline “was not a viable option in the first place,” Tadashi Okamura, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said at a news conference, calling the government’s move “welcome.”
After all, nuclear power has never once, under any circumstances, proven to be anything but completely safe, with facilities that are immune to failure even when fallible humans are in the mix, and there’s no way an accident at a nuclear plant could render huge areas uninhabitable for years on end — at least since last spring.