Japan goes on a nuclear nook following the shutting down of its only nuclear power reactor for maintenance purposes last night.
Takada, the utility’s spokesman announced that the reactor stopped producing power at around midnight last night. Then the fission stopped later at 4 in the morning.
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The closing of such a significant utility to the country’s economy means that Japan will be left without a working power reactor. This situation was last experienced in May 1970. The instant closure is meant to allow plant operators to carryout the necessary maintenance services and other additional safety checks. Before the Fukushima disaster Japan produced 30% of its power through 50 nuclear plants.
The utilities producing power for the country are now being forced to use coal, oil and gas to produce enough power to keep factories, homes and offices running. Purchasing these fuels has increased the cost of power production and it is therefore expected to affect electric bills. Any rise in electric bills will definitely have a negative impact on the economy which has been contracting in the last three years.
Mainichi newspaper has quoted the country’s Industry Minister as saying that Japan might momentarily remain without atomic power. The Minister was speaking on April 15th after he attempts to get authorization from local authorities to reopen reactors at Ohi.
Record LNG Imports
The Ohi plant, which is located approximately 95 kilometers northeast of Osaka, helps to produce power for the Kansai, which is estimated to be the size of Belgium. Kansai is also the second-largest metropolitan area in Japan. It has an economy of about $1trillion. It hosts cities such as Osaka, Kyoto, and other major factories such as Sharp and Panasonic.
Reports from FEPC show that ten regional power firms purchased about 52.9 million metric tons of Liquefied natural gas in the last fiscal year.
The use of oil in power production has doubled to about 23.3 million kiloliters. The report also indicates that the current petroleum consumption in Japan is the highest in a period of 10 years.
It is now projected that fuel charges at the atomic plants will rise tremendously to about $87.7 billion which is almost 7 trillion yen by the end of March 2013. This rise can be altered if reactors resume work. The increase of fuel prices is also expected to push electric bills in Kansai by about 800 billion yen.
Japanese government projects a drop in Kansai’s electric output by 16.3% this summer in case the country is hit by another heat wave.
Analysts advise that the government will be forced to reopen 11 nuclear reactors to counter these shortages, which is almost impossible.