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Nuclear power generation in Japan predicted to cost more than solar in 2030: ministry

Solar panels cover a mountainous area in the western Japan city of Akaiwa, Okayama Prefecture, in this photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter in June 2021. (Mainichi/Kenji Konoha)

TOKYO -- Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has estimated that the cost of nuclear power generation will be higher than that of solar and other power by 2030, undermining the price advantages of nuclear energy.

    The ministry presented the expected cost of power generation sources -- such as nuclear, thermal and solar -- in 2030 during an expert committee meeting on July 12. Reflecting the increase in the cost of safety measures due to the 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Holding Inc.'s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, the ministry estimated the cost of nuclear power generation at "the upper 11-yen range or more" per kilowatt-hour. Though nuclear power used to be "the cheapest" energy source in past estimates, it has become more expensive than other sources such as solar power.

    The cost of nuclear power generation has risen by more than 10% from the 10.3 yen or more per kilowatt-hour in the 2015 estimate. In the latest forecast, the least expensive source is commercial solar power which hovers "between the lower 8 yen range and the upper 11 yen range per kilowatt-hour, followed by residential solar power at "between the upper 9 yen range and the lower 14 yen range" per kilowatt-hour.

    (Japanese original by Daisuke Oka, Business News Department)

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