"Things may be turning around for the industry as recent problems with a reactor in South Korea, and recent shutdowns of Japanese reactors could be signs that coal will see a rapid increase in demand in 2012. A recent Bloomberg article stated that the Kori 1 reactor in South Korea was closed for safety checks on March 13. Five weeks after a power failure caused the temperature of its core to rise. If the reactor remains shut Korea will look to boosting coal purchases to replace the nuclear power generated by the reactor.
"Economically, coal is the best," said Osamu Fujisawa, an independent energy economist in Tokyo who estimates coal imports may gain as much as 2.45 million metric tons a year. "If you're trying to increase summer power generation, coal is the best in terms of cost."