Fukushima global reactors closings

Problems at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant could force 30 of the world’s oldest nuclear power plants, representing 14,639 MW of capacity, to shut down, according to analysis from UBS AG.

Life extensions for nuclear plants could be limited as a result of Japan’s nuclear crisis, Bloomberg quoted the analysis as saying.

UBS AG said that the number of closures is “conservative.”

“Countries will definitely think twice about life extensions,” Per Lekander, an analyst at UBS, was quoted as saying. “My closure assumptions are very conservative, I think there may be more.”

The U.S. has 55 plants that have been operating 30 years or longer.

The shutdowns could drive up power prices and increase the use of fossil fuels, which would go against requirements to cut carbon dioxide requirements, the article said. In addition, future nuclear power plants may be required to use a passive cooling system that operates independently of external power sources.

The emergency in Japan also raises credibility issues because it happened in an advanced economy and is taking longer to get under control, the article said.

“Having nuclear in your portfolio is clearly introducing a risk,” Lekander said. “Tepco was perceived to be a low risk stock; two weeks later there’s a discussion of whether this company is going to go bust.”

Energy prices across Europe are likely to increase and countries will be forced to use more gas generation, making it difficult to meet climate change targets, he said.

“This will benefit everything that is in the gas value change,” he said. “The discussion in the past has been about gas market over-supply and now gas is the only alternative.”

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