Takahama ruling deals a blow to Japan's nuclear industry


On 14 April 2015, a local court issued an injunction ordering Kansai Electric not to restart two reactors at the Takahama nuclear power station, despite previously receiving clearance from the country's nuclear watchdog (NRA).

We expect the company to appeal the decision which, if upheld, represents a significant setback to the industry and has serious implications for the following areas:

Nuclear power:  It's clear that NRA approval does not guarantee nuclear restarts and that the process can be thwarted by local groups and courts.  Gaining local approval beyond the host community will be vital to prevent a ripple effect. Consequently, we have become increasingly conservative regarding nuclear restarts within our outlook.

Japan Nuclear restarts

Thermal power generation: As the two reactors were initially expected to come online in the next year, the decision will ultimately lead to the burning of more gas over the short to medium-term. Longer term, additional coal-fired units will be built to replace lost nuclear and ageing thermal power plants.

Emissions targets:  Recently, there have been two leaks to the media regarding the government's new energy plan and its pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 20% in 2030 from 2005 levels.

However, lower nuclear, aided by such court decisions, could jeopardise Japan's emissions plans. With a significantly reduced nuclear outlook, we forecast that Japan will only get halfway to its target. 

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Takahama nuclear plant restart rejected by local court [Subscription required]

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