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2006 Electric Power Supply Plan and Nuclear Industry Developments

The latest Electric Power Supply Plan was released by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy at the end of March. It brings together the plans of all the power companies and is released at this time each year.

The table and time line below show planned construction and startup dates for nuclear reactors. The dates for startup of the 4 Tokyo Electric and the 2 Tohoku Electric reactors have been set back a further year compared to last year's plan. Plans for these reactors have been postponed year after year. The startup date for Namie Odaka has been postponed more than 20 times. (You can see that it is an old plan just by looking at the power output.) In regard to Fukushima I - 7&8, Governor Eisaku Sato has said that he will not approve them during his term in office, which ends in 2009. In any case, the startup date for these will be postponed again in coming years.

Startup dates for the other reactors have been postponed several times in the past. Given that changes to the earthquake design guidelines are expected (refer article about Shika-2 verdict in this issue of NIT), it is likely that those currently undergoing safety assessments will be postponed again next year. Indeed, judging from statements by the power companies themselves, the only reactors with any certainty of being operated are the two currently under construction. Peak electricity demand for all the power companies has stopped growing, so it is not in their interests to continue building according to plan. Construction is planned for the 3 reactors currently undergoing safety assessments, but these will be built by wholesale power companies. They face the problem that the power companies to which they hope to sell their electricity, will not want to buy it.

Under these conditions nuclear industry sales continue to fall. The graph below is based on a survey published by the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) on February 10th. JAIF predicts that sales will rise again, but the chances of this happening are not good.

Baku Nishio (CNIC Co-Director)

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