Tokyo, July 12 (Jiji Press)–Nuclear power generation is projected to cost more than solar power in 2030 due to higher spending on safety measures, an estimate by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed Monday.
The estimate, presented at a meeting of a panel of experts, apparently contradicts the belief that nuclear power has the lowest cost for generating electricity among energy sources.
Nuclear power is estimated to cost more than 11.50 yen per kilowatt-hour in 2030.
The ministry’s previous estimate, released in 2015, put the cost at 10.3 yen or more, claiming that nuclear power had the lowest generating cost.
In the latest estimate, the generating cost of solar power for business use is projected at between a lower range of 8 yen and an upper range of 11 yen, reflecting a drop in costs for manufacturing solar power panels.
The generating cost of liquefied natural gas-fired thermal power is estimated at between an upper 10-yen range and a lower 14-yen range.
Reactor decommissioning costs and compensation payments that would be needed in the event of a nuclear accident are now estimated at 15.7 trillion yen.
This is much higher than 9.1 trillion yen in the previous estimate, reflecting the huge costs to deal with the country’s worst nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 plant damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Among renewable energy sources, the cost of offshore wind power generation is calculated in a lower 26-yen range, against the previous estimate of between 30.3 yen and 34.7 yen.
The government plans to use the latest estimates when it sets its target for the country’s sources of power in fiscal 2030 in its next energy policy, to be drawn up shortly.
The current energy policy regards nuclear power as a source of power that can stably generate electricity at low cost.
The estimated rise in nuclear power generation costs may affect the government’s revisions of its energy policy, sources familiar with the situation said.