Energy / Climate Change

February 26, 2003


TEPCO Runs Energy Saving Campaign; Nuclear Power Plant Problems Lead to Tight Power Supply

Keywords: Energy Conservation Non-manufacturing industry Nuclear Power Policy / Systems 

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) of Japan is now carrying out thorough inspections at its nuclear power plants, after admitting falsification of maintenance records by covering up cracks detected during inspection at the plants. Considering the possibility of not meeting the power demand in the Tokyo metropolitan area, TEPCO is calling on both business and residential customers to conserve electricity.

TEPCO plans to shut down 12 out of total 17 reactors by the end of January 2003 for inspection, and the remaining five will undergo rotating shut-downs. About 40 percent of the power demand in the Tokyo metropolitan area depends on the electricity generated by their nuclear power plants in Fukushima and Niigata Prefectures. The company predicts that the suspension of the reactors for inspection might lead to a shortage of power supply if severe cold hits the area.

Since December 2002, TEPCO has been appealing to customers to save electricity, by visiting business users to ask for understanding and cooperation and by advertising to reach residential customers through the media, such as newspaper ads, flyers, TV and radio commercials, and printed messages on the back of the monthly electricity usage statements. This is the first energy-saving campaign during the winter season since the first ¡Èoil shock¡É in 1973.

In addition to this campaign, TEPCO is considering resuming operations of thermal power plants that have been under long-term planned shutdown, postponing regular inspections and repair work of thermal and hydroelectric power plants, buying electricity from other electric companies, accelerating the start-up of newly built thermal power plants, and utilizing the electricity generated by their trial operations.

The company expects to stem the decline of reserve capacity with these measures until February. However, if the daytime temperature drops near zero degrees Celsius on weekdays in Tokyo, and if the suspension of the nuclear power plants continues after March, the power supply will be in an extremely severe situation, with the reserve rate falling to 0 percent.

In May 2002, General Electric International Inc., which had carried out inspection and maintenance at TEPCO's nuclear power plants, pointed out to TEPCO that inappropriate procedures might have taken place such as the falsifying of maintenance records and cover-up of cracks or signs of cracks found during safety checks between late 1980s and 1990s.

Posted: 2003/02/26 09:50:18 AM
Japanese version