News Summary: Japan hints at nuclear-free policy
MAJOR SHIFT: Japan's government is expected to gradually abandon nuclear power when it issues a new energy policy this week following a loss of confidence in nuclear power after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant meltdown.
THE PROPOSAL: The new policy would include a 40-year cap on reactor lifespans, no construction of new nuclear reactors, and strict safety checks before any reactors are restarted. It also says Japan should make greater use of renewable energy and undertake greater conservation efforts, such as using smart grids.
COMPLETE 180: Before Fukushima, Japan relied on nuclear power for one-third of its energy needs and planned to raise that to 50 percent by 2030.