*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.
Tuesday, June 13, 2023
In front of the Cabinet Room, 2nd floor,
National Diet Building
First, today, in order for Japan to start the full-fledged commercialization of CCS, or carbon capture and storage, we selected a total of seven role model projects as Japanese Advanced CCS Projects, five of which are domestic and two overseas ones. We aim to secure CO2 storage of approximately 13 metric tons per annum by 2030. While we will seek to achieve approximately 120 to 240 million tons of CO2 storage by 2050, we would like to first implement those role model projects.
Today is “Day 1” toward starting full-fledged CCS commercialization in Japan.
Those projects are divided into three types. The first type operates on a “local production, local consumption” basis. Three of the projects are of this type, and they are located in Tomakomai, Higashi-Niigata, and the Tokyo metropolitan area, respectively. The second type involves the development of a nationwide network using ships. Two projects are of this type, and they are located off the coast of the Japan Sea, more specifically in the area off Tohoku and in the area off northern to western Kyushu. The third type involves overseas storage. Two projects are of this type, and their locations are Malaysia and Oceania.
Going forward, we will cooperate with the industry to move toward full-fledged CCS commercialization by 2030 while seeking the local people’s understanding in each region. At the same time, we would like to accelerate study toward a legal system related to CCS commercialization. We would like to develop a legal system before the actual start of CCS commercialization. As for detailed information, the administrative staff will give you a briefing.
Q: I have a question related to CCS, which you have just mentioned. Please tell me about your expectations for the future potential of CCS and the challenges that you recognize now. I would also like to hear your views on the direction of further activities that METI may conduct in the future in order to resolve those challenges, including the development of a legal system that you touched on.
A: Japan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, but we must achieve those goals at the same time as ensuring a stable energy supply and stable electricity supply. The use of fossil fuels will continue to decrease, but for the time being, strong emphasis is placed on LNG as a transition fuel. There are a number of emerging countries that are using coal for the moment.
In the effort to achieve carbon neutrality while using fossil fuels, CCS occupies a very important position along with new energy sources like hydrogen and ammonium. Until now, Japan has continuously promoted research and development, and 300,000 tons of captured carbon have already been stored in a demonstration project off Tomakomai. At this time, we have selected model projects in which each company, each player, can put their experiences to practical use.
Japan will also continue to use LNG for the moment with CCS being utilized. In addition, Japan may provide CCS technology to emerging nations as part of our cooperation with them. Therefore, at this time, we selected model projects, which are the local production/local consumption type, the nationwide network type, and the overseas transportation/storage type, and we will advance them. Domestically, as it is necessary to develop a legal system by the time CCS business actually starts, we would like to expedite study on that. As for international relationships, foreign laws will also need to be observed, and bilateral arrangements may become necessary. To this end, we would like to accelerate consultations with foreign countries.
Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Q: Yesterday, the Kansai Electric Power Company announced that it will implement a demonstration experiment for the reprocessing of MOX fuel in France. Kansai Electric Power claims to have for the moment honored its pledge, made to Fukui Prefecture, to transport spent fuel out of the prefecture. Please comment on that and tell me about the Government’s response.
Please also tell me whether domestic facilities will be used to reprocess MOX fuel if the experiment is successful.
A: I understand that yesterday, June 12, the Kansai Electric Power Company reported to Fukui Prefecture on its plan to transport the spent fuels out of the prefecture. I have been informed of that.
METI believes that Kansai Electric Power’s announcement of the plan to transport the spent fuel out of Fukui Prefecture is significant for honoring the pledge that the company has made to the prefecture.
Ultimately, it is necessary to obtain Fukui Prefecture’s understanding, but this action, transporting the spent fuels overseas, is similar in significance to securing an interim storage facility. Kansai Electric Power’s show of readiness to honor its pledge to Fukui Prefecture with respect to the finalization of the period of the interim storage plan deserves appreciation.
I understand that Fukui Prefecture plans to make a judgement from a comprehensive perspective after asking the national government about its thoughts, so we would like to fully explain our thoughts to deal with this matter carefully.
In any case, we hope that the demonstration experiment of reprocessing in France will be successful, and, given the past track record, we have high expectations for the experiment. We plan to promote the nuclear fuel cycle.