Power companies in Japan now know the regulations they are required to meet in order to restart nuclear reactors idled as a result of the 2011 Fukushima accident. The first units could potentially come back online before the end of this year.
New regulations were announced today and will be in force from 8 July, at which time several utilities are expected to immediately apply for permission to restart a limited number of units. This will include Ohi 3 and 4, which have been operating on special permission due to power demand in the Kansai region. The country's total nuclear fleet counts 50 reactors but utilities are yet to explain their expectations for most.
It is interesting to note that Japans trade balance shifted to a huge deficit, due to fuel imports, after the country shut down the nuclear fleet as a result of Fukishima. It was inevitable that the Japanese were going to restart the reactors and Abe has said this since he got elected. Japan has no natural resources so the choice is quite simple; restart the reactors or damage the economy via high imported nat gas and oil prices to provide sufficient electricity. The choice of living a pastoral existence like a bunch of hobbitts was never in the mix. No, renewables will not be the answer. This is another data point in the bullish scenario that is building for uranium.
Disclosure: I am long URA, EFRFF.PK.