Kyoto wind farm turbine falls after pylon snaps

AFP-JIJI

A 38-ton wind turbine crashed 50 meters to the ground in Kyoto Prefecture after the steel column supporting it snapped, according to officials.

The massive Dutch-made turbine, which sat atop a Japanese-made steel column, was part of a mountain wind farm. It was put up in 2001 with an expected life of at least 17 years.

“We are asking experts to look into the cause of the problem. We suspect metal fatigue might have played a role,” a local government official said Thursday, adding no one was injured.

The smashed turbine was discovered Wednesday although it is not known when it fell at the remote facility. A strong windstorm struck wide areas of the nation around that time.

Wind farms have sprouted across large stretches of Japan over the last two decades as the resource-poor country seeks to capitalize on its natural bounty.

The drive for alternative energy has intensified since the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster started two years ago.

Only two of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors are in operation and public opposition against restarting reactors remains strong.

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