Japan nuclear restarts will reduce oil imports and improve financial situation

Japan’s utilities have applied to restart 20 reactors, and last month the Nuclear Regulation Authority approved a restart of two units at Kyushu Electric’s Sendai plant in southwestern Japan, expected to be scheduled for early 2015.

Thermal coal imports hit a record of 111.52 million tonnes after rising 5 percent from the previous year.

Oil use for power fell nearly a fifth over the same fiscal period to less than 418,000 barrels per day (bpd), down from a 16-year high of nearly 510,000 bpd the previous year.

While power firms reduced oil use last fiscal year, their coal use rose nearly 20 percent and LNG by less than 1 percent.

Fossil fuel imports by utilities in the three business years since Fukushima have on average been about 3 trillion yen ($28 billion) higher per year than the yearly costs before 2011, contributing to a string of record trade deficits.

Japan, which takes about a third of global LNG shipments, imported a record 87.73 million tonnes of the fuel in the year through March for both utilities and other uses, paying an all-time high of 7.34 trillion yen (US$68 billion).

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