• Kyodo


Power shortages are unlikely this winter even if all of the country’s 50 reactors remain offline, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

“In all the areas served by nine regional utilities (that own nuclear plants), supply capacity is expected to exceed demand by 3 percent, the minimum level to ensure stable electricity supply,” METI said in a document presented to a panel of experts Tuesday to discuss the country’s electricity situation.

Hokkaido Electric Power Co. is expected to secure 6.9 percent more power supply capacity than anticipated demand in February, or about 390,000 kw, when the use of heating will likely peak.

But the government will consider measures to deal with possible emergency situations in Hokkaido, as only a limited amount of power can be delivered from Honshu.

Based on the panel’s discussions, the government plans to decide necessary power-saving measures for the winter late this month at the earliest.

The government is likely to call on the public and firms to cooperate in saving power, instead of setting numerical power-saving targets, as it did this summer.

Although Kansai Electric Power Co. and Kyushu Electric Power Co. are expected to maintain at least an extra 3 percent power supply, other utilities will likely be ready to send electricity if needed in their areas of service.

Thermal plants are making up for the loss of atomic energy since Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex suffered three reactor core meltdowns in 2011.

All 50 still operable commercial reactors in Japan are now offline, after the only two online units, in Fukui Prefecture, were halted for regular checks in September. More than 10 reactors are now being checked to see if they are safe enough to restart under new nuclear regulations.

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