Today the government of Japan announced plans to completely abolish nuclear power by as soon as 2030.  The declaration was spurred by last year’s Fukushima disaster, which caused officials to reconsider the country’s power sources. Japan will follow in the footsteps of Germany and Switzerland, who have already sworn off nuclear energy.

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Prior to the Fukushima disaster, Japan was the third biggest user of nuclear power in the world – which is incredible considering the country’s small size. But the Daiichi plant’s meltdown after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami left officials eager to consider new, safer source of power for the country.

For now Japan will continue to import oil, coal and gas to make up for the energy used from nuclear plants, but the country will also turn to renewable sources. Government officials said that the country will triple its current green energy production to source 30% of the country’s power needs from renewable sources.

To anti-nuclear advocates’ chagrin, several nuclear reactors are being allowed to restart to supply power and prevent outages over the hot summer and fall. But the government promises that all of Japan’s 50 reactors will be offline in the next twenty years.

Since Japan has little fossil fuels of its own, the shift from nuclear power will be a costly one, incurring an estimated $40.03 billion more per year to import oil, coal and liquefied natural gas – yet the safety of the country is taking precedence.

Via NY Times