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Nuclear Energy’s (Growing) Rebound Potential

by Dr. Kent Moors | published January 16th, 2012

All the talk about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and potential military conflict has overshadowed the current dialogue on nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

What is happening on this front is important – and surprising – to the energy markets.

Following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors last March, many people (quite naturally) thought that prospects for building large-frame nuclear power plants would now be off the table.

After all, close to one year after the disaster, Japan has yet to bring more than a few of its 54 reactors back online.

The central issue for Japan remains the economic impact of weaning itself off reactor-generated electricity. The island nation has no domestic energy resources and has to import virtually all of its oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG). That reality has forced Tokyo to backtrack on its commitment to curb Iranian crude imports only days after saying it would support the new U.S. and European Union sanctions. Between 10% and 15% of daily of Japanese oil imports comes from Iran.

When it comes to energy, the country faces a serious conundrum…

With its nuclear web severely impaired, and no alternative domestic sourcing to turn to, the Japanese economy is rapidly moving into an energy constriction. It faces much higher prices ahead.

And Japan is not alone.