Japan looks to Canadian natural gas to replace nuclear power

Japan recently recognized the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that destroyed much of the northeast of the country, as well as crippling the Fukushima Daiichi power plant and starting a major nuclear scare.

Now The Globe and Mail reports many in the country have begun to look toward natural gas-fired generation and Canadian natural gas as a potential replacement for nuclear power.

Japan currently imports a substantial amount of coal from Canada, but most of the country's natural gas exports go south through pipelines to the U.S.

With increasing consideration of a pipeline to the West Coast and the creation of liquid natural gas export terminals, Japan could begin to rely on Canada to supplement its current natural gas power plants, which account for around 30 percent of the country's capacity.

"Of course we should also think of the cost of importing LNG and other resources and how to diversify the countries from which we buy those energy [products]," Kaoru Ishikawa, Japan's ambassador to Canada, told The Globe and Mail. Noting, however, "we are already importing uranium, coal, and then why not LNG? LNG would be very important for us."

The Morning Call reports that for the first time the cost advantages of natural gas generation have proven the biggest roadblock for nuclear power.

More about natural gas generation can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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