Kyushu Electric Says Atomic Power Windfall Showing in Earnings

  • Sendai restarts may boost annual profit by 80 billion yen
  • The company benefited from oil dropping 44% in past year

Kyushu Electric Power Co. said restarting two nuclear reactors at its Sendai facility could boost annual profit by more than half a billion dollars, underscoring the benefits it’s already seeing by becoming the first utility in Japan to bring its reactors back online under post-Fukushima rules.

The Sendai reactors in southern Japan will increase profit by 80 billion yen ($663 million) in the 12 months ending in March, the company said Friday as it reported first-half earnings.

Highlighting nuclear’s impact even after only a few weeks of operations at Sendai, Kyushu Electric on Friday reported it swung to a profit in the first half. While the gain was mainly from the decline in the price of oil, nuclear restarts played a role.

Net income was 53.6 billion yen for the six months ended Sept. 30, compared with a 35.9 billion yen loss a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Sales were almost unchanged at 931.4 billion yen.

The company, which uses oil to generate almost a fifth of the electricity it sells, didn’t provide an overall full-year profit forecast, though it said annual sales may fall about 0.5 percent to 1.87 trillion yen. The average price of oil purchased by the company fell to $51 per barrel in September, compared with $106 a year ago.

Fukuoka, Japan-based Kyushu Electric restarted the No. 1 reactor at its Sendai facility on Aug. 11, and resumed operation of its No. 2 unit earlier this month. The unit boosted the company’s profit by 11 billion yen during the period.

Japan’s nuclear fleet was gradually taken offline in the years since the Fukushima disaster, with the last of the country’s 43 operable commercial reactors closed in September 2013.

Kyushu was forced to replace lost atomic power with oil-, coal- and gas-fired power plants.

Nuclear is the cheapest form of electricity production, according to data compiled by Japan’s government. 

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