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2014年5月18日 (日)

「原発ゼロ」の夏 安定供給の回復へ再稼働急げ

The Yomiuri Shimbun 7:24 pm, May 17, 2014
Early restart of nuclear reactors crucial for stable power supply
「原発ゼロ」の夏 安定供給の回復へ再稼働急げ

The setting of power-saving targets has been avoided for the second straight year, but power shortages are expected to be more serious than last summer. Power companies must take every possible step to ensure a stable power supply.
 2年連続で節電目標は回避されたが、電力不足は昨夏より深刻だ。電力各社は安定供給に万全を期さねばならない。

We are most likely to greet the arrival of summer, when electricity consumption is heavy, with no nuclear reactors in operation for the first time since the 2011 disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
 東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の事故後初めて「原発稼働ゼロ」で、電力消費の多い夏を迎える公算が大きい。

At a recent Cabinet meeting on power supply and demand, the government decided to call for moderate power-saving efforts without setting numerical targets. Households and businesses, for their part, must cooperate in power-saving efforts as much as they can to get through the coming summer.
 政府は電力需給に関する閣僚会議で、今夏は数値目標を掲げず、無理のない節電を要請する方針を決めた。家庭や企業も、できる範囲で省電力に協力し、暑い夏を乗り切りたい。

The surplus supply capacity that utilities can secure on their own during summer peaks of electricity consumption stands at 1.3 percent more than anticipated demand for Kyushu Electric Power Co. and 1.8 percent for Kansai Electric Power Co., both falling below the 3 percent said to be necessary to prevent power outages.
 原発なしで夏の需要ピーク時に各電力が自力確保できる供給余力は、九州電力が1・3%、関西電力は1・8%にとどまる。停電を防ぐ最低ラインとされる3%を下回る厳しい状況である。

The two utilities plan to secure a surplus supply capacity of 3 percent with power provided by TEPCO. But if the power supply capacity falls due to trouble at a power plant, there will be an immediate risk of a blackout. It will be just like walking a tightrope.
 九電と関電は、東電から電力の融通を受けて3%を確保する計画だが、発電所のトラブルなどで供給力が下がれば、たちまち停電の危機が迫る。まさに綱渡りだ。

A power failure during a hot spell would halt the operation of air conditioners and cause an increase in the number of heat stroke sufferers, possibly endangering the lives of many people.
 猛暑時の停電は、冷房停止による熱中症の増加などで人命にかかわる事態を招きかねない。

To help meet the demand for electricity, the government has asked all power companies to ramp up their supply capacities. But a significant increase cannot be expected, as utilities are struggling to secure a power supply while fully operating even superannuated thermal power stations.
 政府は需給対策として電力各社に供給力の積み増しを要請した。だが、各社は老朽化した火力発電所まで総動員している。大幅な上積みは望めまい。

The decisive factor

In the end, the trump card lies in the restart of nuclear reactors. The Nuclear Regulation Authority has been conducting safety checks on the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors at Kyushu Electric’s Sendai nuclear power plant ahead of other reactors. If those two are restarted, the utility’s surplus supply capacity will exceed 14 percent. This will contribute to resolving the critical power shortage.
 決め手はやはり原発再稼働である。原子力規制委員会が安全審査を優先的に進めている九電川内原発1、2号機が再稼働すれば、九電の供給余力は14%を超え、危機的な電力不足は解消される。

Pushing for the restart of nuclear reactors after their safety is confirmed and rebuilding a stable power supply system must be tackled urgently.
 安全性を確認できた原発の再稼働を進め、電力の安定供給体制を立て直すことが急務である。

But the screening to approve the restart of nuclear reactors has been delayed significantly because the nuclear watchdog has continued to add items for safety checks.
 ところが、原発の安全対策について、規制委が検討項目を次々と追加したため、再稼働への審査は大幅に遅れている。

Kansai and Kyushu economic federations have criticized the NRA’s screening in a joint statement, saying, “It can hardly be said that efficient and responsible decisions have been made promptly.” Their criticism is reasonable. The watchdog’s reluctance to take steps toward improvement should be questioned.
 関西と九州の経済連合会が連名の意見書で、規制委の審査について、「効率的で責任のある意思決定が迅速に行われているとは言い難い」と批判したのはもっともだ。改善に動こうともしない規制委の姿勢が問われている。

Bungled handling of the matter, such as the submitting of flawed documents, has also been seen on the part of the power companies. The utilities are urged to respond to the watchdog’s screening with a greater sense of seriousness.
 提出書類の不備など、電力会社側の不手際も目立つ。もっと緊張感を持って対応してほしい。

The economic effects of the suspended operation of all nuclear reactors are huge. The additional fuel costs of thermal power plants now operating in place of nuclear power plants have swelled to about ¥4 trillion a year. As a result, the utility rates for the average household have risen by about 40 percent for TEPCO and 30 percent for Kansai Electric compared to prices before the nuclear crisis in Fukushima.
 原発ゼロに伴う経済的な負担は大きい。原発を代替する火力発電所の追加燃料費は年4兆円近くに膨らみ、標準家庭の電気料金は、原発事故の前より東電が約4割、関電も3割上がった。

If the restart is further delayed, additional rate hikes will be unavoidable, dealing a great blow to households and businesses. Taking this seriously, the government must strive to achieve a restart of nuclear reactors as early as possible.
 再稼働がさらに遅れれば、追加値上げは不可避となり、家庭も企業も大打撃を受ける。政府は事態を重く受け止め、再稼働の早期実現に真剣に取り組むべきだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 17, 2014)

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