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Japan's nuclear disaster boosts renewables

March 21, 2011 at 9:29 AM   |   Comments

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LONDON, March 21 (UPI) -- With perceptions of nuclear power souring amid the unfolding Japanese disaster, analysts expect subsequent gains for natural gas and renewables.

Japan is struggling to contain the worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. A magnitude-9 earthquake struck the north of Japan March 11, damaging reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Robert Clover, an alternative energy analyst at financial company HSBC, told London's Daily Telegraph newspaper the Fukushima disaster could change nuclear energy policies across the globe.

"However, we expect that nuclear's loss could be natural gas, energy efficiency and renewable's gain," he said.

Japan's nuclear reactors were taken offline after the quake, leaving the country with a 20 percent energy deficit. Japan is buying additional oil and natural gas to make up for the shortfall.

Global energy markets were able to make up for the shortfall after an earthquake struck Japan in 2007. The crisis in Libya, however, left oil producers scrambling to make up for the millions of barrels of oil left out of the market already this year.

Energy prices in part because of the dual crises are at highs not seen since the global financial meltdown in 2008.

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