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2013年9月18日 (水)

再び原発ゼロ 着実な再稼働で電力安定図れ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 18, 2013
Restart nuclear reactors steadily to ensure stable power supplies
再び原発ゼロ 着実な再稼働で電力安定図れ(9月17日付・読売社説)

The No. 4 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Oi nuclear power plant has been suspended for regular safety checkups. The reactor had been the only one in operation.
 国内の原子力発電所で1基だけ稼働していた関西電力の大飯原発4号機が、定期検査のため発電を停止した。

This is the first time in about 14 months that the operations of all 50 nuclear reactors in Japan have been suspended.
 全原発50基が止まるのは、約1年2か月ぶりである。

Hokkaido Electric Power Co., Shikoku Electric Power Co., Kyushu Electric Power Co. and KEPCO have filed applications with the Nuclear Regulation Authority to restart 12 reactors. But safety checkups make the prospects for restarting these reactors uncertain.
 北海道、関西、四国、九州の4電力が、計12基の原発再稼働を原子力規制委員会に申請中だが、審査の行方は不透明だ。

Of particular concern is what will happen if Japan experiences a severe winter, when demand for power will rise due to the need for heating and other factors, and there are no nuclear reactors to rely on. The NRA should proceed with safety inspections without delay.
 原発稼働ゼロのまま、暖房などで電力需要の高まる厳冬期を迎えることが心配だ。規制委は審査を遅滞なく進めてもらいたい。

To restart the reactors smoothly after their safety has been confirmed, it will be necessary to win the understanding of local municipalities where the power plants are located. The central government must provide detailed explanations to local governments and residents concerned about the safety and necessity of nuclear power stations.
 安全性が確認された後、再稼働を円滑に進めるには、原発立地自治体の理解が要る。政府は原発の安全性と必要性について、地元に丁寧に説明すべきだ。

Despite a record-breaking heat wave this summer, such problems as a massive power outage were avoided. This can be attributed to the power-saving efforts of businesses and households as well as the strenuous efforts of utilities to supply power.
 今夏は記録的な猛暑にもかかわらず、大停電などを回避できた。企業や家庭の節電と電力各社の努力が功を奏したと言える。

However, the utilities walked a tightrope in meeting power demand. On Aug. 22, KEPCO was forced to make up for the shortfall of power supplies, caused by a sharp rise in demand due to soaring temperatures in its service area and trouble at its thermal power plant, by receiving surplus power from other utilities as an emergency measure.
 だが、実際には電力需給は綱渡りだった。8月22日は、関電管内で気温上昇による電力需要の急増と火力発電所のトラブルが重なり、他の電力会社から緊急に電力の融通を受ける事態を招いた。

KEPCO’s excess supply capacity on this day dropped temporarily to 4 percent, only one percentage point above the 3 percent regarded as the threshold for causing a blackout.
 この日の供給余力は一時、停電危険ラインとされる3%寸前の4%まで下がった。

It is far too optimistic to believe that adequate power supplies can be secured without the help of nuclear reactors, merely because there were no blackouts in summer.
 今夏を乗り切ったからといって「原発ゼロでも電気は足りる」などと考えるのは甘すぎる。

Thermal power costly

All available thermal power plants have been mobilized to make up for the power shortfall caused by the suspension of nuclear reactors. As a result, thermal power generation now provides 90 percent of the total power supply, up sharply from about 60 percent recorded before Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami disaster of March 2011.
 原発の代わりに火力発電を総動員した結果、全電力に占める火力発電の割合は、東日本大震災前の約60%から90%に上昇した。

The proportion of power generated by imported fuels, including liquefied natural gas, exceeded 74 percent of total power output, equaling the record set during the first oil shock in 1973. This is a worrisome factor in terms of ensuring energy security.
 全電力のうち、輸入燃料で発電している割合は、石油ショック時の74%を上回る。エネルギー安全保障の面で気がかりである。

The impact on the national economy is also serious. The additional cost for fuel imports amounted to about ¥4 trillion, resulting in a continued exodus of a huge amount of national wealth.
 経済への打撃も深刻だ。液化天然ガス(LNG)などの追加燃料費は今年度、約4兆円にのぼり、巨額な国富の流出が続く。

Given the increased reliance on relatively expensive thermal power generation, Tokyo Electric Power Co. and five other utilities have raised rates for households by 6 percent to 10 percent.
 割高な火力発電への依存度が高まったとして、東京電力など6社はそれぞれ、家庭向け料金を6~10%程度値上げした。

But consumers were forced to bear additional financial burdens as portions of the increased fuel costs were automatically added to the rates.
 さらに、燃料価格の上昇分が機械的に上乗せされ、実際の料金負担はもっと増えている。

For example, TEPCO raised the rate by about 8.5 percent, but the monthly bill paid by the standard family went up by about 30 percent compared with the outset of the crisis at the utility’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in the aftermath of the 2011 disaster.
 例えば、東電の値上げは約8・5%だったが、標準家庭の月額料金は、福島第一原発の事故当時より約30%も高くなった。

The margin of utility hike rates for businesses was larger than that for households. Unless reliance on thermal power generation is reduced, midsize and small companies in financial difficulties will find it hard to survive, and the hollowing out of industry may accelerate.
 企業向けの値上げは家庭より大幅だった。火力発電への依存度を下げないと、採算の厳しい中小工場などは経営に行き詰まり、産業空洞化が加速しかねない。

It is essential to establish a stable system that can provide power cheaply. The government should clearly come up with a policy stating that nuclear power generation would continue to be a principal power source.
 安価な電力の安定供給体制確立が急務である。政府は、原発を今後も主要電源として活用する方針を、明確に打ち出すべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 17, 2013)
(2013年9月17日02時11分  読売新聞)

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