Japan can cut its power costs by 30 percent if it restarts at least half the country’s 50 nuclear reactors by 2014, a government adviser said. The savings would amount to 1.8 trillion yen ($20.3 billion), the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, a Tokyo- based research group known as IEEJ, said in report posted today on its website. The country paid an estimated 6 trillion yen last year for its liquefied natural gas imports, twice as much as the year before, Yukio Edano, the country’s former trade and industry minister, said at a conference in September.
The government has tried to fill in the energy gap with more financially and environmentally costly alternatives such as fossil fuel and liquefied natural gas (LNG). Japan imported twice as much LNG in year compared to the previous 12 months, which cost it 6 trillion yen (US$67.7 billion). An IEEJ associate warns of a potential economic catastrophe if the country does not return to nuclear power. While majority of the public expressed opposition to the use of nuclear power, it still opted to elect into office a party that is known to be pro-nuclear.