Utilities warn of blackouts unless reactors are restarted

7 years ago by in Featured, Japan

Japanese utilities are lobbying the authorities and the public to accept the restart of nuclear reactors, saying that the country is otherwise facing risks for blackouts during the summer.

Kansai Electric Power announced that its clients could experience a 20 percent energy shortfall in July and 16 percent in August, if the temperatures soar and air conditioning usage increases significantly. The utility serves large areas in mid-western Japan, including large cities like Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe.

Other companies also warned they may not meet demand in the summer. Kyushu Electric Power, which covers areas in the west, and Hokkaido Electric Power, in the north, said they need nuclear sources to go past summer without problems.

Currently, only one of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors is functional but it is also scheduled for shut down in early May, for safety checks.

Before last year’s accident at Fukushima plant, Japan got about a third of its energy needs from nuclear sources.