Tepco's increasing reliance on fossil fuels

12 February 2013

Tepco's use of liquefied natural gas (LNG), crude and heavy oil has significantly increased since the accident at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, figures released by the Japanese utility show.

For the first ten months of the current financial year (ending March 2013), the company consumed 19.64 million tonnes of LNG, up from the 18.85 million tonnes consumed during the comparable period last year. In the same period ending January 2011, prior to the Fukushima accident, Tepco's LNG consumption was 16.65 million tonnes.

Tepco recently agreed on the initial terms of a 20-year contract with Mitsui & Co Ltd and Mitsubishi Corp for the supply of 800,000 tonnes of LNG annually from the Cameron project in Louisiana, USA. A further 1.2 million tonnes will be secured from multiple sources. The utility said these purchases are the first step towards its goal of securing the delivery of up to 10 million tonnes of LNG per year.

Data released by Tepco also shows that, during the ten-month period between April 2012 and January 2013, it consumed some 6.16 million litres of heavy oil and 2.71 million litres of crude oil. This represents a 46% increase in heavy oil use and a 51% rise in crude oil use between April 2011 and January 2012, when consumption was 4.23 million litres and 1.79 million litres respectively.

During the whole of the previous financial year (ending March 2012) Tepco consumed 5.56 million litres of heavy oil and 2.51 million litres of crude oil. Figures for the financial year ending March 2011 show that its consumption of heavy and crude oil was 3.12 million litres and 1.63 million litres respectively. The data indicates that Tepco's oil use has now more than doubled since the Fukushima accident.

Meanwhile, the company's use of coal fell 10% from 2.60 million tonnes between April 2010 and January 2011, to 2.53 million tonnes between April 2011 and January 2012, and dropped 2.8% again to 2.30 million tonnes for the ten months up to January 2013.

Tepco supplies around one-third of Japan's electricity, and prior to March 2011 nuclear accounted for nearly 27% of the company's installed capacity while gas accounted for 41%, oil 17% and hydro 14%. However, all of Japan's nuclear reactors - including Tepco's seven units at Kashiwazaki Kariwa and four units at Fukushima Daiini - are now off line.

All of Japan's utilities have been increasing their imports of fossil fuels to help them continue to meet electricity demand. Making up a large part of replacement power is LNG, imports of which were 11% higher in 2012 compared to 2011.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News