Bloomberg News

Japan’s Nuclear Safety Steps May Cost 19 Billion Yen Per Reactor

November 15, 2011

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Additional safety measures required at Japan’s nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima disaster may cost 19.4 billion yen ($252 million) per reactor, the government said.

Emergency measures such as maintaining cooling at a 1,200- megawatt nuclear station are estimated to cost about 11.8 billion yen, a committee under the National Policy Unit said in a report today. Other costs include steps to secure emergency power generators and improve external sources of electricity and 1.3 billion yen to prevent explosions and equip workers with radiation-protection gear in a severe nuclear accident.

Japan plans to review its energy policy “with no sacred cows,” the government said last month, after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, causing three meltdowns. Costs of various power generation sources will be compared to determine the future energy policy of Japan, formerly the third-biggest nuclear power user after the U.S. and France.

The additional safety measures will increase the cost of building a nuclear reactor by about 5 percent, according to calculations based on data provided in the report. The committee estimates the cost of constructing a reactor at 420 billion yen, assuming a rate of 350,000 yen per kilowatt and a capacity of 1.2 million kilowatts.

A severe nuclear accident like the one at Fukushima may raise the cost of nuclear power generation by as much as 1.6 yen per kilowatt-hour, the Japan Atomic Energy Commission said Nov. 10. The estimate assumed a nuclear disaster would cost about 5 trillion yen.

The electricity industry claimed before the disaster that nuclear energy is the cheapest power source. The cost of atomic power was estimated at 5.3 yen per kilowatt-hour, while coal, natural gas, oil and hydro were calculated at 5.7 yen, 6.2 yen, 10.7 yen and 11.9 yen, respectively, according to a 2004 estimate by the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, a group of 10 regional power utilities.

--Editors: John Chacko, Baldave Singh

To contact the reporters on this story: Tsuyoshi Inajima in Tokyo at tinajima@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash in Singapore at aprakash1@bloomberg.net


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