Japan needs power. It’s no secret. After the Fukushima accident caused by an earthquake and tsunami, as of March 2012, all nuclear reactors were taken off the power grid. What does this mean to the Japanese population? With the summer coming on, and potential rolling blackouts, frequent power outages and factories moving to neighboring Asian countries in search of stable power ramp up, real worries abound. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda went on national television to tell his fellow citizens that Japan could not maintain its economy or its current standard of living without restarting some of the nuclear reactors. Why is that, and what exactly are they proposing?
Nuclear Power in Japan: The Facts, Nothing But the Facts
- Nuclear power supplied nearly 30 percent of Japan’s electricity before last year’s disaster.
- Japan has 53 nuclear units that can produce 43,368 MWe of power.
- Prime Minister Noda wants to restart Ohi reactors No.3 and No.4 operated by Kansai Electric Power Co.
- The Kansai Electric service region relied on nuclear power for more than 40 percent of its generation.
- The Kansai region, including the cities of Osaka and Kyoto, are heavily urbanized, home to Japan’s electronic industry, and subject to the worst potential electricity shortages.
- The utility is requesting that customers reduce power use this summer by 5-10%.
- Demand could exceed supply by 14.9 percent in August alone.
- Mr. Noda concluded that Japan could not maintain its current living standards without nuclear power, in the short term.
- The need to import more oil and gas to make up for the shortfall has made a major impact on financial security.
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