ISLAMABAD - Need for cheap energy has prompted many countries to actively prepare plans for setting up nuclear power plants that are more environment friendly and safe to operate.

Countries which turned against nuclear power after Fukushima accident and decided to phase it out, have now decided to initiate new nuclear projects after a gap of several decades.

After Fukushima, nuclear power projects have been continued and initiated in many countries including China, France, Finland, Russia, South Korea and India, and they have continued with their nuclear power plans after a short pause to carry out a safety review.

 Japan has shut down its nuclear plants, but the new Japanese government intends to restart them after they have undergone a safety review by the newly-established Japanese regulatory authority. “They realised the need to do this because their yearly oil import bill has increased by $32 billion for purchasing fuel for the replacement energy”, official sources at PAEC said, while talking to APP, here.

 Further, increased fossil fuel burning is taking a heavy toll on human health through atmospheric pollution, and Japan has fallen back on its commitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, he said. Even plants with designs similar to the Fukushima plants have been kept operational in many countries, he added. As a result of its hasty decision, Germany too is experiencing a significant rise in costs of electrical power, with a recent report citing a figure of $ 32 billion for the increase in power bills.

Despite all the talks of renewable, it has also had to increase reliance on coal to provide a stable base load, which has led to an overall increase in its greenhouse gas emissions. Construction of four new plants has begun in USA, while UK has now announced new policies and taken a series of administrative steps to initiate new nuclear power projects, he said.

Official said that a number of countries are in various stages of entering the nuclear power field, which includes UAE, where work is continuing on a 4 x 1400MW nuclear power plant provided by South Korea, with the first unit to come on line in 2017.

Saudi Arabia has also signed a number of agreements with nuclear companies for upgrading its industries and training its manpower. “It has recently established “King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.Care), to expeditiously develop renewable energy under a coordinated programme. Besides, Turkey is in final stage to begin construction of a 4 x 1200MW plant at Akkuyu in cooperation with Russia.

Negotiations are in final stage for another four unit nuclear plant to be set up on the Black Sea Coast. “Bangladesh has signed an agreement with Russia for the supply of a nuclear power plant, and work on the site and training of its personnel has been commenced”, official concluded.