Japan might restart up to 10 reactors each year and have up to 35 nuclear reactors back online in 2019

Japan has stricter nuclear safety regulations since Fukushima. Restarting each reactor could cost around $1 billion in fees and will require a six-month review by the new Nuclear Regulation Authority. In the most optimistic scenarios, Japan might be able to fire up 10 reactors per year.

Japan’s 50+ main nuclaer reactors have provided some 30% of the country’s electricity and this was expected to increase to at least 40% by 2017. The prospect now is for at least half of this, from a depleted fleet of no more than 48 reactors.

The reactor restarts are facing significant implementation costs ranging from US$700 million to US$1 billion per unit, regardless of reactor size or age. The NRA is working to increase its relicensing staff to about 100 people, which could potentially shorten the currently envisaged six-month review timeline. Under a high case scenario developed by Itochu, about 10 reactors could be added every year for a total of up to 35 reactors back online within five years.
Economic impact of shutdowns.

JAIF has said that increased fuel imports are costing about JPY 3.8 to 4.0 trillion ($40 billion) per year (METI puts total fossil fuel imports at JPY 9 trillion in FY2013). The trade deficit in FY2012 was JPY 6.9 trillion ($70 billion), and preliminary 2013 figures released by the Ministry of Finance show JPY 11.5 trillion ($112 billion), up 65% on 2012’s figure of JPY 6.9 trillion. The total trade deficit from March 2011 to end of 2013 was thus JPY 21.0 trillion ($204 billion), compared with previous surpluses of at least JPY 2.5 trillion per year (JPY 6.6 trillion in 2010).

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