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Growing Distaste for Nuclear Power Dims Prospects for R&D

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Science  08 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6086, pp. 1220-1221
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6086.1220

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After the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, the Japanese government promised a sweeping review of the country's nuclear-centric energy policy. On 28 May, a governmental advisory body laid out options for the mix of energy sources in 2030, along with projected effects on the economy and carbon dioxide emissions. Targets for nuclear power range from 35% of generating capacity down to zero—a total nuclear phaseout—although those close to the deliberations believe the government will settle on 15% when it finalizes the policy this summer. While that scenario would not require Japan to go cold turkey on nuclear power, it would rule out building new reactors for the immediate future and cloud prospects for R&D.