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How much electricity this summer?

May 7, 2012


Gov't checks electricity supply after halt of last running reactor



TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese government held its fourth meeting Monday to ascertain electricity supply and demand for this summer, as the nation is without nuclear power-generated electricity for the first time in 42 years.

The last operating commercial reactor, the No. 3 unit of Hokkaido Electric Power Co.'s Tomari nuclear power plant, was brought to a stable state of cold shutdown at around 11 a.m. Monday after ending its electricity generation Saturday night for routine maintenance.

With all of Japan's 50 commercial reactors now suspended, the government is accelerating efforts to verify how much electricity will be available this summer, with the aim of compiling the outcome as early as later this week.

At the latest meeting with experts, the government presented an estimate that the areas covered by Kansai Electric Power Co. will face a power shortage of 14.9 percent this summer, slightly better than the 16.3 percent shortage the utility projected in April but still a severe situation.

The government is trying to restart two offline reactors of Kansai Electric, which relied particularly heavily on nuclear power before the Fukushima nuclear crisis, but its efforts in relation to the firm's Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture appear to have made little headway.

Since the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi power plant, resulting in radiation leaks, mass evacuations and heightened public concern over nuclear safety, none of the Japanese reactors halted for scheduled checkups have been restarted.

The reactor in the village of Tomari on Japan's northernmost main island reduced its output power from 5 p.m. Saturday and had its nuclear fission reaction ended at around 4 a.m. Sunday.

To check the nation's electricity supply and demand condition for this summer, the government launched the meeting with experts on April 23.

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