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2013年7月 2日 (火)

節電スタート 省エネ頼みでは停電が心配だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 2, 2013
Reliance only on energy saving won’t stop power outage fears
節電スタート 省エネ頼みでは停電が心配だ(7月1日付・読売社説)

The government-designated summer electricity-saving period began Monday.
 夏の節電期間がきょう1日、スタートした。

Idled nuclear power plants have not been reactivated in time for summer, and the nation’s power supply-demand situation remains shaky at best.
 今夏は、停止している原子力発電所の再稼働が間に合わなかった。電力需給は綱渡りである。

Both businesses and households should devote reasonable efforts to conserve electricity to get through the summer heat.
 企業も家庭も、無理のない節電に努め、夏を乗り切りたい。

The risk of a sudden, extensive blackout heightens in summer when power consumption rises sharply with increased use of such appliances as air conditioners because of the onslaught of scorching heat. It is extremely important to ensure there is a power supply surplus by refraining from wasting electricity.
 夏は急な猛暑で冷房などの電力消費が跳ね上がり、突発的に大停電を起こすリスクが高い。ムダな電力消費を控え、一定の供給余力を確保することは大切だ。

Last summer, a power-saving target of a maximum of 15 percent was set for the service areas of seven electric power companies in Kansai, Kyushu and other regions.
 昨夏は関西、九州など7電力で最大15%の節電を強いられた。

Nuclear plants indispensable

This summer, no electricity-saving target has been set because electric power companies have managed to augment their power supplies by making full use of old-fashioned thermal power stations. Power-saving efforts that have taken root in businesses and households have contributed to this.
今夏、目標設定を回避できたのは、電力各社が古い火力発電所も動員して供給力を増強したからだ。企業や家庭で、節電が定着した効果も加わった。

It is overly optimistic, however, to assume that the nation’s electricity demand can be met only by means of power-saving efforts.
 ただし、節電をすれば原発がなくても電気は足りる、などと考えるのは楽観的すぎる。

For instance, Kansai Electric Power Co.’s supply reserve ratio, or the percentage of surplus power supplies in excess of assumed maximum power demand, is barely above 3 percent, the lowest possible ratio that would preclude a power outage, even taking into account reactors Nos. 3 and 4 of the utility’s Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, the only ones operating in the country.
 関西電力は供給力の予備率(余力)が、大飯原発3、4号機を含めても、不測の停電を防ぐ最低ラインとされる3%ギリギリだ。

If the Oi plant’s reactors are halted, KEPCO’s supply reserve ratio will drop to no more than 1 percent. In that event, the utility would find it inevitable to set a power-saving target and take other measures.
 大飯原発が止まると予備率は約1%しか確保できない。節電目標の設定などを迫られよう。

The government’s Nuclear Regulation Authority is reported to be in favor of permitting the Oi plant’s two reactors to operate until September, when they are scheduled to undergo a routine safety check. The NRA’s policy in this respect is reasonable.
 政府の原子力規制委員会は大飯原発2基について、定期検査に入る9月まで稼働を認める方針という。妥当な判断といえる。

Other utilities must not let their guard down, as an increasing number of thermal power stations have failed to operate properly because they have been running at full blast.
 関電以外も油断できない。酷使してきた火力発電所のトラブルが増えているためだ。

After suffering a succession of emergency stoppages of its thermal power plants late last month, Hokkaido Electric Power Co. narrowly avoided a serious situation by securing electricity from Tohoku Electric Power Co. to make up for the shortfall. Sufficient precautionary steps must be taken to ensure no major blackout takes place due to trouble occurring at more than one power plant as electricity demand soars during summer.
 北海道電力では6月下旬、火力発電所の緊急停止が続発し、東北電力から電力の融通を受けた。電力需要の多い夏にトラブルが同時多発して大停電が起きないよう、十分な対策を取る必要がある。

The immense economic losses from stopping nuclear power plants must not be overlooked. The cost of fuel to cover power shortages due to idled nuclear power plants through thermal power generation is expected to reach nearly 4 trillion yen this fiscal year. This means a colossal amount of the nation’s wealth has been flowing out into resources-rich countries, exacerbating the huge trade deficits.
 原発停止による経済的な損失の甚大さも忘れてはならない。原発を補う火力発電所の追加燃料費は今年度、4兆円近くに達する。資源国に国富が流出し、巨額の貿易赤字が続いている。

All power utilities have been naturally keen to procure fuels such as liquefied natural gas at lower costs, but they are in disadvantageous positions in price negotiations as they have no other alternative but to depend on thermal power generation.
 電力各社が液化天然ガス(LNG)などの安価な調達に努めるのは当然だが、火力に頼らざるを得ない弱みを抱えているため、価格交渉で不利な立場にある。

Drops in jobs, income

If this situation remains unchanged, electricity rates are certain to rise further, placing a greater burden on both family budgets and businesses. Besides this, there is a danger that the hollowing-out of industries will increase, possibly leading to a decline in employment and wages.
 このままでは電気料金が一段と上がり、家計も企業も負担が増えるだろう。産業空洞化が加速し、雇用や所得も減少しかねない。

To avoid the double whammy of a rise in the financial burden and a shrinkage of income, it is imperative to put nuclear power plants back into operation once their safety is confirmed, thereby securing the power generation necessary for this country. This should be the final summer that the threat of power shortages hovers over us.
 負担増と収入減のダブルパンチを避けるには、安全を確認した原発を再稼働し、必要な電力を確保することが不可欠だ。電力不足の夏は今年限りとしたい。

A set of new safety standards for nuclear power plants is scheduled to be put into force soon. The NRA should proceed to screen the safety of nuclear power plants without delay.
 原発の新規制基準が近く施行される。規制委は遅滞なく審査を進めるべきである。

The government, for its part, must do its utmost to obtain the understanding of local entities hosting nuclear power plants about the wisdom of reactivating those plants.
政府も原発立地自治体の理解を得るよう、説明に全力を尽くさねばならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 1, 2013)
(2013年7月1日01時35分  読売新聞)

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