World Economic Forum: A Stronger Nuclear Industry Should be Part of Japan’’s Future

New Energy Architecture: Enabling an effective transition, a recent report by the World Economic Forum, offers policymakers across the globe a methodology for evaluating and developing country-specific energy goals. The chief mission of the report is to provide a guideline for countries as they transition away from carbon-heavy resources to meet climate goals. Natural gas, renewable energy and nuclear technology are all identified as the most promising resources.

The report notes that “[w]hile many countries have moved forward with their plans to address climate change, more needs to be done.” Significantly, it argues Japan must maintain its nuclear energy program and should “look to continue (R&D) in an effort to build a stronger nuclear industry.”

One of Japan’s primary challenges will be rebuilding the trust and confidence of its public, according to the report. Recommendations for mitigating the country’s confidence issue include establishing a fully independent regulatory agency, increasing stakeholder involvement and developing an effective communication system. The report also recommends Japan communicate the lessons its learned to the international community.

Despite the events of Fukushima Daichii, the report notes that nuclear expansion in several countries remains unaffected. Countries such as China and India are still on track with their nuclear energy plans.

Any hasty decision-making could lead to negative consequences, the report warns. For example, Germany’s quick decision to shut down half its nuclear fleet in response to Fukushima will have significant economic and environmental consequences in the short term. This includes at least 11,000 lost jobs, higher carbon emissions and increased electricity costs.

View the full report (PDF file)