Japan’s nuclear woes continue to mount

By Andrew Walker 3 January 2017
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Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is Japan’s largest nuclear power plant. (Tepco) Kashiwazaki-Kariwa is Japan’s largest nuclear power plant. (Tepco)

Japan’s target for nuclear power to provide more than one-fifth of its electricity supply in 2030 faces challenges, including mounting public opposition, ageing reactors and limited storage space for spent fuel. This means fossil fuels are likely to make up a larger proportion of the country’s power mix in 2030 than the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) expects. 

The share of gas in Japan’s power mix is projected to fall from around 45% currently to 27% in 2030, according to METI. It is clear demand for gas from Japan’s power sector will decline over the coming years as the country’s overall power demand falls and the share of nuclear and renewables in the mix grows. However, nuclear will struggle to meet its projected 20-22% share, and a mixture of LNG and coal will likely plug the gap.

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