Tepco’s crisis over, says Facts
THE PEAK of Tokyo Electric Power's (Tepco) nuclear crisis is over and there will be sufficient power generators in operation to meet peak summer electricity demand, says Facts, the energy research company.
In late July, Tepco brought a 1.1 gigawatt (GW) plant back into service. As a result, four of Tepco's 17 nuclear plants, with a combined capacity of 4.912 GW, are operating normally. This is 28% of the firm's total potential capacity.
A year ago, Tepco shut down several nuclear units for safety inspections. Other companies followed suit. Overall, 44% of the country's nuclear generating capacity was taken out of service. In May, Tepco restarted one of its nuclear reactors.
Facts expected up to four more reactors to be restarted last month, adding a further 3.768 GW to the total and bringing the number of operational plants to eight. A further two units, with combined capacity of 1.884 GW, will probably be operational by September, it says.
Another unit, with a capacity of 460 megawatts, should be working by November, according to the research company. The timing of restarts at the remaining six nuclear power stations is unknown Facts says, adding that it expects them to stay shut for most of the year.
Nuclear generation is important to the government because it improves national energy security and gives the country some chance of meeting its obligations to reduce emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. However, because of scares and scandals, nuclear energy has fallen foul of public opinion.