Power shortage expected in Japan this summer may hamper companies’ recovery

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 15, 2011

Power shortages this summer threaten the recovery of regions in Japan that were affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Damages were estimated to be up to 25 trillion yen ($299 billion). One of the affected companies is Iwaki Diecast Co., a supplier of Toyota Motor Corp.

The power for its 15 electric furnaces was cut when the earthquake started. As a result, all that remained of 12 tons of liquefied aluminum at 670 degrees Celsius was a large chunk of useless metal.

The tsunami had washed away 440 pounds (200kg) of spilled aluminum and a magnesium die-cast plant in Yamamoto, Miyagi prefecture. Managing Director Hiroto Yokoyama said that for production to resume, they brought in diesel generators so that they can melt the metal lumps.

Parts production continued on March 22. Yokoyama said that it’s now nearly back to its status before the earthquake. Unfortunately, it’s highly possible that the northern Tohoku region will suffer blackouts in the next months as the disaster had cut its national power generating capacity by 8%.

Based on statements from Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Tohoku Electric Power Co., Bloomberg estimated that the combined capacity of nuclear, oil and coal-fired generators (including the Fukushima Dai-Ichi station) that was stopped amounted to 22,422.6 megawatts.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government said that if temperatures this summer approach the levels last year, Tokyo and eight nearby prefectures may be short by 15,000 megawatts.

Topics: japan

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