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March 14, 2013

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Rolling blackouts are a bit more extreme than opting to take the stairs, that's for sure.

TEPCO brought a bunch of mothballed coal and oil-burning generating stations back on-stream in the year or so following the earthquake as the 13-month deadline for reactors still operating triggered the gradual shutdown of the rest of their nuclear fleet. Burning millions of tonnes of crude oil, bunker oil, coal and LNG have raised Japan's carbon emissions by more than 20% as well as damaging their GNP.

Japanese law requires all reactors must be shut down every 13 months for inspection and the utilities usually performed a refuelling operation at the same time. Restarting the reactors after this shutdown was usually done on the nod but it takes agreement by the national and local governments for this to happen and after what occurred at Fukushima Daiichi that permission was almost never granted. Only two of the Ohi reactors have been restarted after a paper safety exercise was carried out, the rest are still in cold shutdown and that includes all of the non-TEPCO reactors elsewhere in Japan, from Hokkaido to Kyushu.

True that! This is great detail that I should have included.

Japan had enough spare capacity (via very environmentally-unsound technologies) to prevent blackouts across the nation. Unfortunately, there was no way to get that to Tepco. Which is not to say that Tepco did not employ such unsound technologies! It certainly did.

And thank you for the details of the shutdown.

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