TOKYO — U.S. military installations on the Kanto Plain may not face power outages this summer after a fourth nuclear-power reactor in Niigata prefecture was restarted Tuesday.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant Unit No. 4 reactor restarted after the Niigata governor gave his approval to the Kanto plain’s largest electricity supplier, Tokyo Electric Power Company, on Tuesday.

“We now have a prospect that we can manage to balance the supply and demand,” said TEPCO’s president, Tsunehisa Katsumata, in a statement released Tuesday.

The electricity demand on a severe summer day is roughly 64.5 million kW, according to TEPCO. With the fourth reactor restarting, TEPCO can provide 61.6 million kW. By purchasing surplus electricity from other sources, it estimates the supply to be 66.2 million kW for July and 65.6 million kW for August.

“We will be fully committed in restoring the trust of the local residents,” Katsumata said, “by conducting checks and repairs of each reactor and carrying out preventive measures.”

TEPCO shut down all of its 17 reactors in Niigata and Fukushima prefectures in April for safety checks, after it was revealed officials had falsified safety reports to cover up reactor problems.

“We continue to monitor the electrical power situation around the Tokyo region, working in close cooperation with TEPCO,” said Air Force Col. Victor Warzinski, public affairs director for U.S. Forces Japan. “We are encouraged to see some progress on the issue.”

However, Warzinski added, USFJ is still waiting to see what happens after the unseasonably cool weather in the Kanto Plain changes.

“That will be the real test of how prepared TEPCO is to meet the continuing demand for electrical service,” he said.

TEPCO said it wants to restart another three or four reactors just to avoid any potential energy shortages.

Noted Warzinski: USFJ “will continue to encourage our people to practice energy conservation.”

author picture
Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now