Japan looks set to re-start some of its nuclear reactors in a bid to boost its economy.
Utility Exchange reported recently that Japan had shut down its final nuclear reactor for safety checks. Despite protests the Japanese Prime Minister is now keen to re-start some of these reactors in a bid to boost the economy.
The Japanese Prime Minister has said that in order to protect jobs and the economy, two nuclear reactors have to be re-started.
Japan has 50 nuclear reactors, all of which are offline at the moment for safety checks after the earthquake and tsunami last year. As a result the country has turned to gas to generate electricity, resulting in supplies previously meant for Europe being diverted to Asia for a higher price.
As a result of this new market for gas, wholesale gas prices have increased over the last year, something which many energy companies in the UK have blamed for rising gas and electricity prices.
Electricity use in Japan tends to accelerate in the summer months as businesses and homeowners turn to air conditioning to combat the hot weather. Last year many businesses gave permission for workers to wear shorts to work in a bid to reduce energy consumption amid concern that energy generation wouldn’t be able to cope with the increase in demand.
The Prime Minister hopes to get two reactors re-started before the summer and energy demand soars. He said “The Japanese society cannot survive if we stop all nuclear reactors or keep them halted”.
He added that without nuclear power energy providers would have to rely on fossil fuels and as a result electricity prices would increase. This in turn would put a financial strain on small businesses.
Other countries around the world have turned their backs on nuclear power as a result of the disaster last year in Japan, including Germany and Italy. As a result, if Japan does re-start some of its nuclear reactors, it’s unlikely to reduce wholesale gas prices as demand for gas is likely to remain high.
Consequently, we are unlikely to see a fall in business electricity prices or gas prices if Japan returns to nuclear power.