"Perhaps not for long. Already, a slew of reports are warning that Japan could face grim economic consequences if it keeps its reactors offline. Before a tsunami and earthquake caused a meltdown at Fukushima’s Daiichi reactor last year, atomic power provided 27 percent of the Japan’s electricity. Since the shutdowns, the country has been importing more oil and natural gas to keep the lights on. And that’s costly. A recent report (pdf) from Japan’s Institute for Energy Economics found that, as a result, the country’s GDP would grow just 0.1 percent in 2012, and Japan could find struggling with electricity shortages during the sweaty summer months.
By contrast, the IEEJ report found, if Japan began switching its nuclear reactors back on this summer, the economy would grow 1.9 percent this year — largely because lower electricity prices would allow factories to ramp up production. What’s more, by curtailing its fossil-fuel imports, Japan would be able to run a trade surplus this year, instead of a projected $57 billion trade deficit. (Currently, Japan imports about 90 percent of its oil from the Middle East, and the country’s newfound appetite for crude has helped drive global prices upward.)
What Japan does with its reactors could have significant climate-change consequences, too”
Via the excellent Brad Plumer of WaPo