Both Japan and South Korea registered large month-on-month gains in nuclear power output in August. The surge in nuclear output helped to dampen natural gas consumption in the power sector, which declined by about -0.54 million tonnes (LNG-equivalent) versus July, according to CapraView. This may have reduced the two markets’ need for LNG cargoes by as much as 7 to 8 cargoes, which was very well-timed given the stratospheric levels reached by Northeast Asian spot LNG prices.
Figure 1. Japan & South Korea Nuclear Output (Jan 2016 to Aug 2022)
Japan’s nuclear output surged by +47.4% versus July, following the full returns of Genkai 4, Oi 4 and Takahama 3. South Korean nuclear generation exceeded 21,000 average MWs (aMWs) for the first time since January of this year and surpassed the prior five years’ high-low range for the month.
Figure 2. Japan & South Korea Nuclear Power Output: Aug 2022 vs. Prior Month & Prior Year
Nuclear output in these two markets should continue to ratchet higher over the coming months, with the planned returns of several additional units.