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Cablegate: Climate Change: Emission Impossible: Npp Shutdown

VZCZCXRO9470
PP RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHKO #3739 2260926
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 140926Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6465
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 2564
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 4987
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 6176
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 3326
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAEPA/HQ EPA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS TOKYO 003739

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR IO, G, EAP/J AND OES/EGC - HARLAN WATSON, TRIGG
TALLEY, EDWARD FENDLEY, NORMAN BARTH, AND CHRISTO ARTUSIO
USDOC FOR NOAA CLIMATE CHANGE OFFICE - SID THURSTON
WHITE HOUSE FOR CEQ - JAMES CONNAUGHTON
DOE FOR S-3

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ENRG KGHG JA
SUBJECT: CLIMATE CHANGE: EMISSION IMPOSSIBLE: NPP SHUTDOWN
EXACERBATES JAPAN'S KYOTO TARGET BIND

1. Summary: According to a joint Ministry of Economy, Trade,
and Industry (METI) and Ministry of Environment (MOE) interim
report issued on August 10, Japan will miss its Kyoto
Protocol emissions reduction target by 20-34 million tons per
year (1.5-2.7 percent of total emissions) if it maintains its
current emissions reduction program, the Kyoto Target
Achievement Plan. Even this shortfall may be optimistic,
since the Plan assumes nuclear power plants (NPPs) operate at
87-88 percent of capacity. Since FY04, Japan's NPPs have
operated at around 70 percent capacity. NPP capacity
utilization will fall further with the shutdown of the
Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP following the July Niigata earthquake.
Emissions from thermal plants brought online to replace the
power lost by the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP shutdown are
estimated at around 28 million tons per year. METI and MOE
are now studing how to revise the Plan to meet Japan's Kyoto
Protocol obligations. End summary.

2. Revised emissions projections put Japan 20-34 million
tons short of its Kyoto greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
reduction target according to an interim report released on
August 10 by METI and MOE. Under the Kyoto Protocol, Japan
pledged to reduce GHG emissions during the 2008-2012 period
to 6 percent below the 1990 level, or to 1.186 billion tons.
However, emissions were up 8 percent over 1990 levels in 2005
and METI now predicts 2010 emissions at 1.273-1.287 billion
tons -- 100 million tons short of the goal. Under Japan,s
2005 Kyoto Target Achievement Plan, most of that shortfall
would be made up by purchasing emissions rights overseas and
credit for gas absorption by enhanced forest management.
(NOTE: The forest credit is based on an agreement reached in
Marrakech and involves no actual forestry programs, or
measurement of carbon sink performance. END NOTE.) With
these revised emissions projections, Japan would fall short
of its commitment by 20-34 million tons, or 1.5-2.7% of total
emissions. Purchasing emissions rights to make up for that
shortfall would cost between 66 billion and 110 billion yen
(USD 557 million and 928 million) at current market prices
(which would likely go up with increased demand for emissions
rights). An MOE contact told post that MOE has begun revising
the Plan yet again, with changes to be finalized by the end
of this year.

3. Unfortunately for the GOJ, the assumptions for NPP
capacity utilization contained in its Kyoto Target
Achievement Plan appear overly optimistic. Nuclear power
plants provide about 35 percent of Japan's electricity. The
Plan assumes NPPs will operate at 87-88 percent capacity.
Since FY04, Japan's NPPs have operated at around 70 percent
capacity. NPP capacity utilization will fall further with
the shutdown of all seven reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa
NPP, the largest NPP in the world, following the July Niigata
earthquake. In FY 2003, when Tokyo Electric Power was forced
to shutdown 17 of Japan's 54 NPPS for inspection due to the
falsification of past inspection and maintenance records, NPP
capacity utilization fell to 59.7 percent. In fact, GHG
emissions from thermal plants brought online to replace the
power lost by the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP shutdown are
estimated at around 28 million tons per year, which would
double Japan's Kyoto target shortfall.

4. Even with the return of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa NPP, which
could take a year or more, Japan would still have to either
increase its NPP capacity utilization well above its recent
average, or bring new NPPs online faster in order to avoid
having to buy its way to its Kyoto target. Japan currently
has 3 NPPs under construction with 8 more planned. While the
full effect of the recent earthquake on Japan's nuclear power
industry is as yet unknown, any increased regulation or
public resistance would make acceleration of NPP construction
problematic.
MESERVE

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