Caspian Energy Journal Caspian European Club
Tuesday, 05 March 2019 16:00

Nuclear generation to displace LNG imports in Japan

Nuclear generation to displace LNG imports in Japan

In 2018, Japan restarted five nuclear reactors that were shut down after the 2011 Fukushima accident. As those reactors return to full operation, the resulting increase in nuclear generation is likely to displace generation from fossil sources, in particular natural gas. Because Japan imports all of its natural gas in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG), increased nuclear power production is likely to reduce Japanese imports of LNG in the electric power sector by as much as 10% in 2019, Caspian Energy News ( reports with reference to the press statement of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Japan now has nine operating nuclear units with a total electricity generation capacity of 8.7 gigawatts. Electricity generation produced by natural gas-fired plants in Japan has been declining annually from its peak in 2014 and is likely to decline further in 2019, while generation from nuclear units will likely increase.

In response to the 2011 Fukushima accident, Japan suspended operations at all nuclear reactors for mandatory safety inspections and upgrades, leaving the country with no nuclear generation from September 2013 to August 2015. As the five nuclear reactors were gradually restarted in 2018, they began to offset natural gas-fired generation, and as a result, LNG imports decreased as the reactors reached full operation. In 2019, their first full year of operation, EIA estimates that the restarted nuclear reactors will further displace Japan’s LNG imports by about 5 million metric tons per year (MMmt/y), or 0.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of LNG. This amount is equivalent to 10% of Japan's power sector natural gas consumption and 6% of Japan’s LNG imports in 2018.

Japan's long-term energy policy calls for the nuclear share of total electricity generation to reach 20% to 22% by 2030, which would require up to 30 reactors to be in operation. Out of the remaining fleet of 35 operable reactors, 9 are currently operating, 6 have received initial approval from Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, 12 are under review, and 8 have yet to file a restart application.

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Person in charge of the newsline: Olga Nagiyeva 


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