WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has been meeting this week with Japanese officials promoting the possibility of exporting natural gas from Alaska’s North Slope to meet Japan’s energy needs.
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Murkowski has said there’s a window of opportunity for Alaska to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the North Slope to Japan to replace nuclear power generation taken off line following last year’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake, tsunami and emergency at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
“Japan is looking to replace the power that they used to get from nuclear energy, so we have an opportunity to get Alaska natural gas to a market that is eager to secure a long-term and affordable source of energy,” Murkowski said.
Only two of Japan's 53 nuclear reactors remain in operation today, which has left Japanese manufacturers concerned about rising power prices caused by some 30 percent of the country’s power generation being taken offline.
Murkowski raised the issue with Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Monday at a dinner hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. On Wednesday, she met with the acting Secretary General of the Democratic Party of Japan. Last week, Murkowski met with 10 members of Japan’s Parliament in her role as co-chair of the Senate’s Japan Interparliamentary Group.
Murkowski, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, also sent a letter to President Obama urging him to support efforts to send Alaska natural gas to Japan, including committing to expediting permitting of necessary infrastructure for an LNG project.
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