TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Kyushu Electric Power said on Friday it expect to report its first interim net profit in five years, helped by the restart of nuclear power production and a decline in energy input prices that cut costs at fossil fuel-fired plants.
Kyushu Electric said in a statement it expected a net profit of 45 billion yen ($376 million) for the six months ending Sept. 30, compared with a net loss of 35.9 billion yen in the same period a year ago.
The company restarted the 890-megawatt No.1 reactor at its Sendai nuclear plant on Aug. 11, the first attempt to reboot Japan’s nuclear industry in nearly two years after the sector was shut down in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. It has been operating at full capacity since Aug. 31.
The utility had stepped up fossil fuel-fired power production during the nuclear outage, increasing its operating costs.
Kyushu Electric now aims to have its 890 MW Sendai No. 2 reactor running by mid-October. It said previously that with both reactors operating, it would save about 15 billion yen in fuel costs per month, mainly by using less oil and liquefied natural gas.
The company didn’t issue a profit outlook for the fiscal year ending next March, citing an inability to project the exact schedule for restarting the Sendai No.2 reactor.
Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell