Japan needs to restart nuclear reactors for Steel companies to survive

Nuclear energy is likely be one of the big winners as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks set to return to power after elections on Dec. 14.

“Abe can take up drastic policies once this election is over,” said Shigeaki Koga, a former trade ministry official who writes about energy and policy issues. “He will push through policies to promote nuclear power including restarting many of the reactors next year.”

Nuclear power, which accounted for almost a third of Japan’s electricity generation before the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, has been identified by Abe and the LDP as an important source of “baseload power.” Even after the public outcry following Fukushima, Abe has insisted nuclear will continue to play a role in Japan’s energy mix.

As a result of the high cost of imported fuel, Japan’s current account registered a 367.9 billion yen monthly deficit in June, placing an extra burden on an economy that has contracted for two straight quarters after a sales tax increase in April.

In view of those numbers, some of Japan’s largest companies say nuclear energy is critical to their operations.

“How much longer do we need to endure?” a group of energy-intensive industries asked in a petition submitted to government ministers earlier this year. “We need to know the path for survival.”

Japan will restart 25 of the 48 reactors by 2018, according to projections by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The gap left by nuclear’s absence will be filled mainly by firing liquefied natural gas, said Yoko Nobuoka, an analyst for BNEF in Tokyo.

SOURCE – Bloomberg