Japan’s Nuclear Restarts Lowers Natural Gas Imports

In 2018, Japan restarted five nuclear reactors that were shut down after the 2011 Fukushima accident. Japan is operating nine out of 39 nuclear reactors. The nine operating nuclear units generate 8.7 gigawatts of electricity. Japan’s oil, coal and natural gas increased after they shutdown all of their nuclear reactors. Japan spent about $30 billion each year for additional fossil fuel imports in the three years following the Fukushima accident. In 2010 and before, Japan generated about 30% of its power from nuclear energy. Japan plans to get back to 20-22% energy from nuclear power by 2030. This would require having 30 operating nuclear reactors. Japan could have two more restarts in 2019, two more in 2020 and another two by 2022. The outlook beyond that is less certain. * Onagawa 2 reactor should restart in 2019. * Takahama 1 has cleared safety reviews and has had lifetime extension upgrades. It should restart in 2019. * Mihama 3 has cleared safety reviews and has had lifetime extension upgrades. It should restart late in March 2020. * Takahama 2 safety reviews and has had lifetime extension upgrades. It should restart late in May 2020. * Shimane 2 safety reviews are going smoothly and has strong local support. * Higashidori will finish safety upgrades around 2021-2022 and then restart * Five other reactors are getting upgrades but they face some technical or political issues * There are several other reactors with more political or technical issues
SOURCES- EIA, Reuters Written By Brian Wang

32 thoughts on “Japan’s Nuclear Restarts Lowers Natural Gas Imports”

  1. Looks like all the comentaters are working for GE. as we are slowly being kill by fukashima,
    and Cheynoble and the leaking waste barrels in new Mexico and in Washington State.

  2. No. That’s now how it will work. Study up on Jevon’s Paradox. I think there’s a copy at your nearest Scrooge McDuck money bin.

    Demand will increase for robots as they become more sophisticated and prices go down. There will be an increase in raw materials and energy as that happens.

  3. I have seen it but the Japanese were always frugal. They keep their homes at temperature much lower than us. I just can’t see them finding much room to cut. Their climate is more moderate than ours except for the Northern Island of Hokkaido.

  4. I would expect some loss in consumption because of the increase in price but I think the loss is too high. More likely the graph is just wrong.

  5. Geo is ok if you’ve got the right rocks, but the thermal efficiency is worse even than LWRs – about ten percent – and your field will probably cool down in about the same time as a reactor reaches use-by date. Earlier versions leaked a lot of nasty elements. The Waikato river, largest in the North Island, is above drinking water standards for arsenic level from the Wairakei power plant to the sea. That’s never mentioned in the news. The plant’s only 175 megawatts. Yet if you tried to build a nuke here the antis would scream blue murder.

  6. Still half the car sold in America are Japanese.

    Manufactured in America for the most part, too.

    And speaking of Filipino stupidity:

  7. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in association with LCW Supercritical Technologies has made an important breakthrough for the nuclear industry by extracting 5 grams of powdered uranium, called yellowcake, from ordinary seawater. The new process uses inexpensive, reusable acrylic fibers and could one day make nuclear energy effectively unlimited.

    Brian used to post on this subject a lot back in the day. They can extract Thorium as well.

    Uranium 0.0016 ppm in seawater.
    Thorium 0.0005 ppm in seawater.

    Basically, this is why Japan should got nuclear like France did. It should replace all of its older reactors with new Next Gen IV models/Thorconn thorium reactors. Or at least the most oldest reactors.

    But Japan has a lot of geothermal potential as well.

  8. The Phillipines already get about 40% of their power from geothermal – they are nearly the area, and nearly the population, of Japan, but have more than three times the geothermal capacity. But Japan uses nearly a thousand TWh a year, and the Phillipines only about a hundred. ( New Zealand has about two thirds the geo production of the Phillipines, for about 20% of our power, but the Phillipines has twenty times our population.)
    Dr David MacKay’s graph of population density versus energy potential is aposite http://withouthotair.blogspot.com/2013/06/david-mackays-map-of-world-update.html

  9. The government told people to economise, and they did – even if it meant old people freezing in winter and frying in summer. ( They’ve got this thing where you have a tiny heater under a low table with covers round it, and you keep your legs warm while the rest of the room drops towards outdoor temperatures..)

  10. Even that has started to come under doubt recently, as various local prefectural governors have been pandering to their electorates. While there is no legal obligation, the power companies will not force through construction and startup if the population says no. Suddenly adding additional site safety measures is expensive, especially the new earthworks for dikes requiring additional land purchases from reluctant land owners is an added pain as well. The real kicker is some of the privately funded new earthquake hazard assessments by opponents are turning up additional fault lines that the japanese NRC can’t entirely ignore.

  11. If fuel is cut off all at once, the only way is war.
    If fuel is cut off over a period of a decade or two, then you can diversify and build other approaches.

  12. Aren’t the Japanese getting Uranium from seawater for about 2-3 times the current market value? That’s a firm ceiling on the price of uranium for any future timescale worth planning.

  13. Well, they HAD to. Everyone immediately thinks of Germany when it comes to earthquakes and tsunamis…

    Oh, wait… they don’t. And they don’t exactly think of Germany when it comes to solar and wind, either.

    Yeah, they went off the deep end on anti-nuclear activity.

  14. We already HAD a Manhattan level effort – now we just need someone to go “You know, we really don’t need twenty years to just authorize the friggin’ licenses” and throw the usual procedures into a shredder.

    But… we can’t. Because even though AGW is a ‘crisis’, the folks pushing it don’t want to ACT like it’s a crisis. Perhaps they get too much attention pushing the problem to ever want to see a realistic solution to it?

  15. LNG is expensive. Japan should consider building a gas pipe line from Russia. They should also do renewable. The good thing is that with their declining population their power demand will diminish in the future.

  16. The graph does not make sense. It looks like the drop in nuclear power was about 275 Twh while the increase in the other forms of power was about 125 Twh. Where did the other 150 Twh go?

  17. I hope this time that the Japanese government does a better job of monitoring the nuclear power plants. And I hope the utilities that run the plants think of Japan first instead of profits first. And I do hope the plants by the sea don’t put their diesel generators in the basement.

  18. German plan to shutdown all nuke power plants. Japanese live in earthquake area. Why they still want to keep the N plants? They want to collect the by-products. One day they may return the processed by-product back to USA. They cant forget the Nuke gifts from americian.

  19. Uranium is cheap and plentiful because it’s only making a few percent of global energy. If it was making, say, three quarters of the world’s electricity ( the same as in France ), it would be more expensive, but not enough to matter. If it was making effectively all the world’s energy, which it should be, you’d definitely need breeders, but at that level there’d be plenty of R&D cash available. The frontrunners for molten salt reactors are working on simple burners.

  20. Last time Japan had its fuel supply cut off, it took out Pearl Harbour. But they already went through a big price hike after Fukushima, they were paying about six times the North American rates for gas.
    ‘.. it will take a major event to change this course of events.’
    I’m expecting major events to be the norm, with climate change kicking in.

  21. Yes. Japan might return to a serious nuke effort as part of a national security scare.

    If warren-the-ape has his wet dreams come true and people start sinking eachother’s oil/gas tankers in response to unkind tweets then people will realize that enough uranium to run your reactor is small and so easy to safely import. Coal/oil/gas is just too bulky to protect without paying for entire carrier groups.

  22. “Coal can be made fairly clean burning but it gets more expensive to do so.”

    Burning? Yes there is one advanced plant. Is that design sufficient?
    Umm, No! It can’t be made “clean”, because the waste is not clean. Astronomical amounts of ash. That that ash is radioactive, ladened with heavy metals, and other toxins. Nasty stuff. And I am not kidding about astronomical amounts of ash. “130 million tons of coal ash was generated in 2014” U.S. figure. https://www.epa.gov/coalash/coal-ash-basics#03 Hard to even imagine what 130 million tons of ash looks like.

    That is the same mass as 1,340 Nimitz Class aircraft carriers!

    That is just the US. We are not even the biggest user. China and India use more.

    And mining coal is extremely hazardous. You work in the mines for 30 years, and odds are you are going to have black lung…and death soon awaits.

  23. Doesn’t change the fact that nuclear as an industry is now effectively destined to disappear in Japan, as nobody is currently willing to burn the political capital to start a new plant, even a brownfield replacement of a reactor currently scheduled for decomissioning. With domestic fuel reprocessing effectively ending with the closure of Monju (not like it ever really started…), it will take a major event to change this course of events.

    Like, say, a chinese buyout of major natural gas exporters followed by a price hike, effectively performing an energy blockade. Then japan would become highly dependent on US natural gas exports, maybe with some middle eastern sources as well (desperation may even extend to iranian sources, despite possible rebuke from the US). We saw shades of this when russia hiked gas prices to europe.

  24. Breeder reactors (of which the various TWE concepts are just a variant) do use less uranium (which is cheap and plentiful), but do not address the real problem which is the capital required to build the reactor in the first place, which includes the lengthy and expensive approval process.
    If anything, developing a new, more complex breeder reactor is going backwards compared to what actually needs improving. What is needed are cheaper to build systems that are standard and hence get faster approval (assuming a sensible approval authority).

  25. Good for Japan, nuclear is the BEST source of power. I’ve been doing some research on it, the more I read, the more nuclear I want. Massive amounts of energy, uninterrupted 24/7 power, what little waste their is, it’s contained. Only downside is the costs, large plants have been really expensive to get off the ground. But smaller modular reactors could solve that, I’m hoping to see a nuclear renaissance in the US. Things like Traveling-Wave Reactor (TWR) actually get rid of the waste, while giving us loads of power. The DOE should be investing much more money into this tech.

  26. Germany’s knee-jerk shutdown of nuclear reactors led to more coal-burning. Growing dependence on Russian gas reveals poor Hans shooting himself in the foot. Japan needed to make sure its plants were quake and tsunami-ready, but Germany?

    Nuclear hysteria is handicapping the echo choirs of Europe, and we will see evermore heavy industry fleeing the continent. Russian gas is too easily cut off, and solar/wind is too expensive and unreliable. Coal can be made fairly clean burning but it gets more expensive to do so.

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