Kansai Electric to restart 5 thermal power units next summer

OSAKA - - Kansai Electric Power Co. has decided to reactivate five idled thermal power generation units in western Japan by summer next year in the event that all of its 11 nuclear reactors cease operations around February, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.

The process of reactivation, aimed at averting a power supply shortage when electricity demand peaks in summer, could be time-consuming, however, because the five power units have become rundown as they have been out of service for quite a long time, the sources added.

Slated to be restarted are the Nos. 1 and 2 units in Miyazu, Kyoto Prefecture, Nos. 1 and 2 units in Misaki, Osaka Prefecture, and No. 2 unit in, Kainan, Wakayama Prefecture. They were closed between fiscal 2001 and 2005. Their combined output is 2.4 million kilowatts.

The Osaka-based utility earlier said that it will take two to three years to restart the facilities but it is now trying to speed up the procedure.

The company's nuclear power plants are due to undergo safety checkups and if it becomes impossible to reactivate them, its overall output will fall to 25.33 million kilowatts next summer, according to government estimates.

A serious power shortage might occur next summer given that power demand in areas serviced by Kansai Electric reached a high of 26.87 million kilowatts Monday.

Besides regular checkups to be performed by utilities, the government decided in July to have all nuclear power plants in Japan undergo "stress tests" to confirm their safety as public anxiety deepened in the wake of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.


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