Marita Noon, records the restart with some commentary on the nature of the problem of nuke phobia.
Despite public protest, Japan is going nuclear—again.
Following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused the severe accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear reactor in northeastern Japan, all nuclear reactors were gradually switched off for inspections. No commercial reactor has been online in Japan for nearly two years.
Due to safety concerns, the country’s nuclear power generation has been at a standstill. Meanwhile, new regulatory standards have been developed and reactors are undergoing inspections.Prior to 2011, nuclear power provided nearly one third of Japan’s electricity. Lost power-generation capacity has been replaced by importing pricey fossil fuels. Japan has few natural resources of its own.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports: “Japan imports more than 90% of its fossil fuels, and is particularly dependent on the Middle East for oil and natural gas.”The loss of nuclear power has, according to the CS Monitor, raised household utility bills in Japan by 20 percent.
A survey of Japanese manufacturers, conducted by the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, found that increases in power rates represented the greatest burden for more than 40 percent of the 335 firms who responded, and that “chronic power outages” and further increases in power rates “would do serious damage to industries located in the Kansai region.”
The WSJ confirms: “businesses say the rise in electricity costs without the nuclear reactors makes it harder to run a factory in Japan.”The economic impact of shifting from nuclear power to imported fossil fuels is evident in Japan’s trade deficits. In OilPrice.com, John Manfreda sees a direct correlation. He says: “Before the Fukushima accident occurred, Japan’s economy was driven by its large trade surpluses, which it achieved year after year. However, since Fukushima, Japan reversed that trend, and began posting trade deficits on a yearly basis.”