After a long and arduous battery of routine inspections, not
to mention many power failures and blackouts, Japan is ready to
resume using nuclear energy after Japanese Prime Minister
Yoshihiko Noda last week declared that two reactors were already
safe to reactivate and operate after having passed undergoing
computerized "stress tests".
This vote of confidence ultimately suggests that demand for
nuclear energy, albeit railroaded last year due to the crisis at
the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant brought by the March
earthquake and tsunami, will continue to forge on, and perhaps,
could even be here to stay.
Over the weekend, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda
declared as safe to reactivate and operate the No.3 and No.4
units at Kansai Electric Power's Ohi plant, in time to avoid a
summer power crunch. However, restarting the nuclear power plants
need the approval of the local governments which will take
The Financial Times, quoting analyst Duncan Hughes, reported
the recent development could offer a catalyst for recovery in
uranium mining stocks, which had traded at half their previous
Japan is not expected to switch on the lights for all its
nuclear powers all at the same time. But it is not wont to
totally dispose its use of uranium, as nuclear energy accounts
for 30 per cent of its country's minimum power requirements.
According to www.seekingalpha.com, in a poll conducted by the
Japan Association for Public Opinion Research and published by
the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper revealed majority of Japanese people
want nuclear power forever shunned off by the country. Of the
3,000 respondents asked if they were in favour of ending the
country's dependence on nuclear power, 43.7 per cent replied
Japan should gradually reduce its dependence on nuclear power and
eventually do away with atomic energy altogether.
But trying to keep up with this emotional sentiment of the
populace may do more harm than good for Japan, a country with
zero natural resources.
"Moods change with realities. Unless Japan is prepared to
downsize their economy and forgo a modern society they have
virtually no choice but to move ahead with the restart of their
nuclear industry," John Polomny of www.seekingalpha.com
Currently, Japan has been heavily importing liquefied natural
) to replace the required fuel needed for its gas generators to
produce electricity. But according to Japan's Institute for
Energy Economics, LNG can only meet two thirds of the country's
energy requirements once all its reactors are shut down. Imports
of LNG and crude oil have bloated Japan's trade deficit to record
Moreover, buying and importing those fuels has been driving
domestic costs, which could trigger higher electricity bills.
"Ultimately, the Japanese citizen will be most affected by the
delay in the restarts in paying higher electricity bills," Tomoko
Murakami, nuclear analyst at the Institute of Energy Economics,
Japan, said in Bloomberg News.
With Idle Nuclear Reactors, Japan Consumes More
Oil, More LNG in Fiscal Year Ending March