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New Hope For Nuclear Power In Japan

Nuclear Plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.’s (TEPCO) plan to restart the defunct Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant has an increased chance of being implemented after the prefecture governor, who has campaigned against its reopening, decided against running for re-election, according to a new report by Bloomberg.

TEPCO shares rose as much as 12 percent Wednesday morning - the largest price jump since May 2015, presumably in reaction to the announcement.

Niigata prefecture governor Hirohiko Izumida said he would not pursue a bid for a fourth term for the October 16th elections, a personal statement posted on his fan page said.

The governor has long opposed plans to return the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant - the largest of its kind in the world - to production. Japanese laws do not require that utility companies obtain the approval of local leaders before commencing operations, but it is the expected practice.

Izumida has previously demanded that TEPCO, who also owns the Fukushima Daichi and Daini facilities, conduct further investigations into the causes of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant in 2011 before proposing plans to restart any of the firm’s reactors.

“The next Niigata governor will likely not make as many relentless demands as Izumida,” Japanese analyst Hidetoshi Shioda said.

According to the World Nuclear Association, the 2011 meltdown led to highly radioactive releases over days 4-6 after the incident originally occurred on March 11th.

The organization reports no deaths or cases of radiation sickness from the incident, though 100,000 citizens had been evacuated from the area to ensure minimal health effects.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Japanese government has funded the construction of a $320 million block of man-made permafrost that would continue 100 feet underneath the Dai-Ichi plant to solve “an unrelenting flood of groundwater” that had been headed into the damaged reactors.

The project will stop the leak of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean, which may be continuing at low levels to this day, The Times said.

TEPCO has applied to return reactors No. 6 and 7 to production at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa. The company expects to boost profits by $97 million a month for each reactor it restarts, TEPCO spokesperson Tatsuhiro Yamagishi said earlier this week.

(Click to enlarge)

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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  • Nancy A on September 01 2016 said:
    There are many factual errors in this article. There is NO hope for Fukushima.
  • Aaron Hinman on September 01 2016 said:
    There are TWO Fukushima nuclear plants. The most well known is Fukushima Daiichi which suffered a severe incident as a result of the March 2011 Tohuku Quake and Tsunami. The other plant is Fukushima Daini. A completely seperate facility seven miles north of Daiichi. Fukushima Daini suffered only light damage in the Quake and Tsunami and is currently in cold shutdown. Fukushima Daini can be brought back online to full capacity with just a few months notice.
  • John LaForge on September 01 2016 said:
    You report that the World Nuclear Association says "no deaths or cases of radiation sickness [resulted] from the incident."
    This is untrue. The major daily paper ASAHI SHIMBUN reported August 20, 2016 that two cases of leukemia have been deemed the result of cleanup work at Fukushima. “The labor ministry said a man who developed leukemia by helping in clean-up efforts at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is entitled to work-related compensation”, and, “It marks the second such case since the 2011 nuclear disaster” the paper reported.
  • Dave on September 01 2016 said:
    I'm sorry, but this is not factual. TEPCO is not restarting Fukushima and they never will. There is no hope for Fukushima besides preventing further catastrophe. Furthermore, the ice wall has already been constructed and is not working as planned. This is not an event in the future: it was turned on in March of this year. It was funded and built, now they have to make it work right.
  • covalent on September 01 2016 said:
    "no deaths or cases of radiation sickness from the incident" : this is a complete joke!

    There has been a large increase of thyroid cancers in the aftermath of Fukushima incident.
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/06/07/national/30-fukushima-children-diagnosed-with-thyroid-cancer-in-second-check-but-radiation-said-unlikely-cause/#.V8gDaRAfidM

    Like many other staff, the former director of the plant retired also with a thyroid cancer and is probably dead by now.

    An army of homeless people without training nor experience, recruited by yakuzas is doing the dirty and dangerous job to clean Fukushima because one has to be desperate to work in such lethal environment...
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2511308/Yakuza-forcing-homeless-people-work-Fukushima-nuclear-plant-clear-up.html
  • Nancy on August 31 2016 said:
    TEPCO is NOT trying to restart reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. The reactors potentially subject to restart are at Kashiwazaki Kariwa in Niigata.
  • Susan Carpenter on August 31 2016 said:
    Will Japan never learn? Former Prime Minister Naoto Kan spoke the truth about the dangers of nuclear power. The people are against it. Restarting Fukushima should never be an option.

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