Japan may face power shortages

Featured - May 11th, 2012
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Japan faces a potential 18.7% power shortage in the manufacturing region in Osaka, stirring up debate on whether to bring any of the nation’s nuclear plants back online. No. 3 unit at the Tomari nuclear power plant of Hokkaido, the last operating plant, was shut down on May 5.

All of Japan’s reactors have been offline for routine safety inspections every 13 months. Public concerns hindered any reactors to go online in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear-plant crisis in 2011.

The potential shortage was projected based on scenarios involving the weather in summer when electricity consumption is expected to spike.  Business leaders have urged the government to bring some reactors back online before it harms the energy-intensive manufacturing industry and Japan’s economy.

Two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear power plant was supposed to be restarted in April, which received strong opposition. The government will be discussing potential steps to promote voluntary conservation among small businesses and residential users to avoid major power shortages.