Japan likely to restart 19 nuclear reactors by March 2018

Seven Japanese nuclear power reactors are likely to be in operation by the end of next March and 12 more one year later, according to an estimate by the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ). Judicial rulings and local consents will influence the rate of restart, it notes.

In its Economic and Energy Outlook of Japan Through 2017, the IEEJ has considered the economic and environmental impacts in financial years 2016 and 2017 (ending March 2017 and 2018, respectively) of various scenarios for the restart of reactors in Japan.

The organization estimates that if restarts take place according to the current schedule – the “reference scenario” – seven reactors could restart by the end of FY2016 (ending March 2017). By the end of FY2017, 19 units could be restarted, generating some 119.8 TWh of electricity annually, compared with total nuclear output of 288.2 TWh in FY2010, the year prior to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Under this scenario, compared with FY2010, total spending on fossil fuel imports in FY2017 decreases by JPY4.7 trillion ($45 billion), while the electricity cost – including fuel costs, feed-in tariffs and grid stabilization costs – increases by about JPY100/MWh. Relative to the same period, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to 1094 million tonnes CO2. According to the IEEJ, energy-related emissions reached a historical high of 1235 million tonnes CO2 in FY2013.

The IEEJ’s high-case scenario assumes a total of 25 units are restarted by the end of FY2017, generating 151.2 TWh annually, with total fossil fuel imports spending decreasing by JPY0.7 trillion relative to the low-case scenario where only 12 reactors are assumed to restart, producing 39.1 TWh. In the high-case scenario, the average electricity unit cost is lowered by about JPY600/MWh and energy-related emissions decrease by 52 million tonnes CO2.

So far four Japanese reactors – Sendai units 1 and 2 and Takahama units 3 and 4 – have been restarted under the new safety regulations. However, both Takahama 3 and 4 have been offline since March due to an injunction imposed by a district court.

SOURCES- World Nuclear News