Video: University of Tokyo Fellow Says Japan’s Need for Nuclear Power is Pressing

Paul J. Scalise, a research fellow at the University of Tokyo, spoke with Rishaad Salamat for Bloomberg Businessweek in a video about the outlook for energy options in Japan. Japan is restarting two nuclear reactors in the Fukui prefecture, for the first time since the Fukushima accident.

“After Fukushima, with its almost complete elimination of nuclear power from its generation mix, we’re seeing that caused almost economic havoc within the electric power companies, and the eventual spillover effects to energy-intensive industries such as steal,” said Scalise. “So the need to get nuclear power back online, or face some alternative, is quite pressing at the moment.”

Scalise also spoke of three sometimes competing priorities—environmental friendliness, energy independence, and economic efficiency and growth—that the Japanese government currently juggles as it looks to resolve the future of nuclear and other energy sources in the country. Scalise said the current lack of energy independence since Japan’s reactors were shut down has had a major impact on fuel costs that will by necessity be passed along to end users. In the video, he also discusses the relative cost of different forms of energy for the region, as well as the economic consequences of shutting down all 50 reactors permanently, which could cost anywhere between $4 and $6 billion to decommission, said Scalise.

“The clock is ticking and something needs to be done about it. The only thing, practically, that anyone can do is suggest the restart of the nuclear power plants.”

>>Watch the full interview here