Generating electricity using nuclear power plants in Japan is likely to be economically more efficient than using fossil fuels. And that even taking into account the compensation costs related to the Fukushima Daiichi accident.
According to a study recently released by the Institute of Energy Economic of Japan (IEEJ), for the past five years the cost of nuclear generation remained stable at around $0.09 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This figure would increase to some $0.11 in case of a $130 billion compensation for loss or damage from a nuclear accident: a price that would still be bearable by the Japanese industrial system, as it is still lower tha the 5-year average cost of generating electricity from fossil fuels ($0.13 per kWh) and of renewable energy sources (mostly geothermal), which averaged $0.12.
Fossil fuel electricity generation price also has a much higher volatility than nuclear energy ($0.12 to $0.16), due to fluctuations in the costs of importing the fuel.
IEEJ based its calculations of financial reports published by 12 Japanese power utilities over the past five years, but prior to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The study includes the costs of decommissioning existing reactors, but does not include spending on research and development or payments to communities hosting nuclear power plants.