Electricity rates could double from current levels by 2030 if Japan opts to abolish nuclear power generation.
This is the gist of a report on the economic impact of such action presented to an industry ministry panel on May 9.
Research institutions and academics submitted the results of simulation tests to the Fundamental Issues Subcommittee of the ministry's Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy.
The subcommittee was tasked with drawing up a basic energy plan by this summer. It looked at ways to combine nuclear power, natural energy sources and thermal power to create a stable energy supply in the future.
Its simulations addressed five scenarios in which nuclear power accounts for zero, 15, 20, 25 and 35 percent, respectively, of all electric power supply in 2030. Five research teams produced different estimates on the basis of different analysis methods.
The projections said that no nuclear power in 2030 will result in electricity rates that are between 42 and 104 percent higher than 2010 rates.
The increase is partly due to higher costs of power generation if nuclear reactors can only be operated for up to 30 years. The existing nuclear reactors were built on the premise that their construction costs and other expenses were to be recovered over longer periods of about 40 years.
Another factor for the higher rates is the power grid building costs and other expenses in case nuclear power is to be replaced by an increased output of renewable energy.
The estimates said the use of more renewable energy will increase electricity rates by 30 to 62 percent even if nuclear power continues to account for 25 to 35 percent of all the power supply, much the same as the current levels.
Household utility costs and gross domestic product were also projected to be impacted negatively in the short term, the less nuclear power is used, according to the estimates.
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