According to Prime Minister Shizo Abe, Nuclear Regulation Authority, a new independent watchdog agency, will make sure that the tougher restrictions are implemented and the stable energy supply will not be a threat to public safety.
Although meeting the standards might take a while and the price might be high, Abe is convinced that these will bring back nuclear energy to the Japanese market.
The speech of the Prime Minister came as a remark to the latest analysis released by the World Health Organization. The report contained a detailed overview of the impact of the Fukushima disaster on public health. It says that although the chance of getting cancer has increased, increase in cancer rates amongst the Japanese population will not be noted. However, the report also warns that the conclusions are based on limited data.
The report did not encourage the governmental officials to consider resuming nuclear operations. There are still many Japanese, who are strongly against it mainly because of fears for possible health risks. One of the main arguments that has been brought up is exactly the lack of strict regulations and control.
Japan had 50 operable nuclear reactors that were shut down right after the disaster in 2011, and only 2 resumed regular operation to prevent power shortages.
The Democratic Party leaders now in opposition pledged to phase out nuclear and replace it with renewable energy sources by 2030, however Abe is convinced that such action will limit the economic growth of the country.
The strict regulations will be implemented despite the different opinions, however this will not prevent the country to seek for alternative green sources.
Critics believe that not many of the currently functional reactors will be able to pass the new regulations. In addition, some point out that the WHO report focused on number of deaths and not on cancer development in infants exposed to radiation and workers at the power plant. The report was also criticised by local government officials in Fukushima.