Due to the fact that all of its nuclear reactors will probably remain offline by summer, Japan is bracing itself for a summer where its power supply will be kept on a tight leash. However, utility companies assure the public that they should not expect any blackouts as supply will be tight but just enough to supply electricity to households and businesses.
The country’s nine local power monopolies have a surplus of 4.6% by August, just barely meeting the minimum 3% required to give adequate power supply to the public. The trade ministry panel shared their projection on Thursday, and all but confirming that the nuclear reactors will still remain offline by then due to the continuous safety checks by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Only two reactors at the Sendai nuclear plant among the 48 remaining in the country are expected to resume operations by this summer. The more stringent checks have come after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant meltdown, the worst in recent history. It brought much-needed attention to the spotty safety procedures at the plants, but at the same time, this has brought power companies huge headaches in providing stable power supply while dealing with rising costs of fuel imports.
The companies swap power with each other so that the overall supply will remain at the minimum. But this cannot remain the status quo for long. Kyushu Electric, one of the utilities that has relied on nuclear power in the past says that if the fossil fuel-fired plants will suddenly experience problems, then there will be a “very severe supply/demand situation.” Both Kyushu Electric and Kansai Electric, which supplies almost a fifth of the country’s power demands, were barely able to meet the 3% minimum despite help from other utility operators.
[ via MSN ]