(IBTimes) - Now that Japan is totally without nuclear power,
having shut down its last working nuclear reactor over the
weekend, producers of liquefied natural gas (
) ought to brace themselves as the country shifts to import more
of the said commodity to fuel its energy needs.
Japan's LNG demand alone, according to data from the
International Energy Agency (IEA), will jump by 24 per cent on
levels before the meltdown of reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi
plant after the earthquake and tsunami in March last year. The
IEA forecast Japan would procure 87 million tonnes of LNG this
year, compared from the 70 million tonnes in 2010.
Masayuki Naoshima, vice-president of the Japanese upper-house,
a former Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry and senior
member of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, who arrived last
week in Australia to hold talks with the Prime Minister, Julia
Gillard, had attested to the present reality of Japan's unstable
energy grid. Australia has been eyed to seriously and
constantly supply LNG to the world's third economic leader.
''Australia is one of the most important countries for Japan
in terms of natural resources supply,'' Naoshima told
BusinessDay. ''After the earthquake, our demand for LNG have
increased ... our investment in natural resources will increase
in the future.''
Although Japan has no plans to permanently exit from the use
of nuclear energy, the country is slowly working on diversifying
its energy mix.
''Nuclear energy is necessary in Japan for electricity
generation. However, after Fukushima, we need to reconsider
Japan's energy source mix ... LNG is expected to grow in its
importance as an energy source,'' Naoshima said.
Japan has a total of 50 nuclear reactors scattered all over
the country. After the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led
to the meltdown of reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, the
Japanese government immediately undertook a series of stress
tests on all nuclear power plants. Although some had been granted
approval to go online again, the consensus of the population and
local government at which the particular nuclear reactor is
located must first be secured. So far, none of the previously
suspended nuclear reactors have been allowed to operate
Over the weekend, the Hokkaido Electric Power shut the third
unit at its Tomari plant in northern Japan. The occasion marked
the first time Japan is without nuclear power since the
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