• Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba Corp., and Mitsubishi HI nuclear groups could merge. Hitachi President Toshiaki Higashihara broached the possibility of integrating the nuclear fuel businesses on Thursday. He said, “It’s not just about [nuclear fuel]. The time will come when we need to think about the whole [of the nuclear power business]. Something like a tie-up with other players should be considered.” All three nuclear companies have experienced a sharp decline in profit due to public safety concerns and more severe regulatory requirements following the nuke accident at Fukushima Daiichi. http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/10/440951.htmlhttp://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=ind&k=2016102700783
  • The Industry Ministry (MEXT) calls for a drastic reorganization of Tepco. Specifically, the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., which is the title of the wholly-owned subsidiary of Tepco tasked with decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi. Tepco spends about $800 million per year on decommissioning, but a senior MEXT official said that could swell to several billion dollars per year. At that rate, the total cost of decommissioning could be more than $100 billion by 2050. In its present condition, Tepco could never handle the financial burden alone. MEXT convened an “expert panel” to study how to handle the spiraling costs of the decommissioning. Four proposals were considered: (1) Tokyo covering all decommissioning costs, (2) Tepco placed under state control and public funds used to cover costs, (3) Tepco liquidated and creditors asked to forgive the company’s incurred debt, or (4) further Tepco reform to handle the increasing costs by maximizing profits. The fourth proposal includes Tepco possibly spinning-off its nuclear energy business and making financial ties with other utilities that have nukes. Politically, the safest is proposal number four, and MEXT chose that one. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003306326http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003306326
  • The Yomiuri Shimbun urges restarts of research reactors and construction of new nukes. It says, “The resumption of research reactors at universities and elsewhere is essential. Personnel education does not make any sense if it is done without experiencing the operation of a research reactor. The most important thing is to restart the operation of reactors whose safety has been verified.” Japan’s largest newspaper points to the recent commercial operation of Watts Bar unit #2 in the United States as an example for Tokyo to follow, thus “the construction of new nuclear reactors should also be considered.” In order to insure energy security, America is keeping nuclear in the mix at about 20%, which is similar to the energy policy projected by Tokyo. In addition, there is a strong antinuclear demographic in America, as also comparable to Japan. Yet, America is forging ahead. The Yomiuri wants Japan to follow suit. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003305863
  • Japan says most of the world’s energy demand increase by 2040 will be met by oil and natural gas. The major contributors to the increase will be China, India and ASEAN countries (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Their combined growth will be six times Japan’s current rate of energy consumption. As a result, 78% of the world’s energy consumption in 2040 is projected to come from oil and natural gas. The projection was posted by the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ). Nuclear energy production is envisioned to increase by about 70%, but will remain at the current usage proportion of 11%. While installed capacity for nuclear will decrease for eight countries by 2014, new nukes will be introduced in 14 nations and new construction will expand in eighteen. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/ieej-asean-spotlighted-in-global-energy-supply-and-demand-outlook-to-2040/