Further rolling power outages in Japan

2011-03-15 14:25

Tokyo – Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) today imposed further power outages affecting around five million Japanese households, including in parts of the capital, following last week’s massive earthquake.

The company plans to continue the rolling power cuts tomorrow.

Planned outages are scheduled to last for three hours at a time, the Nikkei business newspaper said, in the aftermath of a record 9.0-magnitude earthquake, a devastating tsunami and a deepening nuclear crisis.

Authorities have announced plans for scheduled rolling power cuts in areas served by Tepco to make up for the loss of power from crippled nuclear plants, including the utility’s Fukushima facility at the centre of a nuclear crisis.

Yesterday, the company began a power outage in an area covering some parts of Tokyo and eight prefectures, affecting around 333 000 households.

The power outages do not affect central Tokyo.

But companies and households have been encouraged to save power, with the usually glaring lights of convenience stores and shop fronts in areas such as Ginza eerily darkened.

The outages have limited train services and major producers such as Toyota and Honda have halted production, while the likes of Toshiba and Sony have closed plants.

Supermarkets and convenience stores in the Tokyo area have been stripped of basics such as bread, water, flashlights and batteries.

Japan, which records 20% of the world’s major earthquakes, generates about 30% of its power from about 50 nuclear plants.

Radiation at Tepco’s quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant reached levels harmful to human health, Japan’s government said after two explosions and a fire at the facility today.

Four of the six reactors at the Fukushima No.1 plant, 250km northeast of Tokyo, have now overheated and sparked explosions since Friday’s massive earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems.

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