Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
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Announcement of the Results of Full Inspection of Thermal Power Plants

On May 16, 2014, the Electricity Supply-Demand Review Committee compiled a report titled “Electricity Supply-demand Measures in the Summer of FY2014.” The report says that the government of Japan should take particular measures in relation to the electricity supply-demand balance, based on the outlook of a much more severe situation than last summer, and that, as a part of the measures, the government should also carry out full inspections of thermal power plants so as to avoid unexpected shutdowns, excluding the cases of preventive shutdowns, to the maximum extent possible, and should incorporate more rigorous safety management in order to prevent serious accidents. To achieve this goal, utilities inspected their thermal power plants and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) examined the results as follows.

1. Details of the inspection

With the increase in Japan's dependency on thermal power plants for electricity supply following the Great East Japan Earthquake, the frequency of unexpected shutdowns of such plants remains high, mainly due to the aging of the plants, which highlights the risks involved in the supply-demand balance of electricity. Based on this fact, METI requested utilities to inspect all of the 86 thermal power plants, excluding those on remote islands, before the onset of summer, from the viewpoints of securing a stable electricity supply, maintenance and safety, and to submit a report on the results of inspection. In addition, METI conducted interviews with utilities concerning the current situation of how they addressed previous unexpected shutdowns, points of precaution for operating the plants this summer, the current extent to which they have intensified on-site inspections, and a system under which they are able to repair plants if any problems occur.

In particular, METI selected 31 thermal power plants, based on age and problems that occurred in FY2013 as well as the lack of regular inspections due to postponements, and inspected the sites to check the current situation of the plants.

2. Results and evaluation of the inspection

In this full inspection, METI has not found any abnormal situation that would impact the supply and demand of electricity. However, the situation of the supply-demand balance of electricity is still expected to be much more severe this summer and significant uncertainty remains. Before mid-summer comes, when the electricity demand will become higher, METI requested that the utilities provide full measures, including intensified on-site inspections, mainly for aging facilities of such plants, so that the utilities are able to thoroughly conduct specific measures, including securing a stable power supply, preventing accidents at power facilities, and preparing measures for quickly repair plants if any accidents occur.

3. Future efforts

The government of Japan will continue to steadily advance measures for the stable supply-demand balance of electricity this summer. In addition, if the supply and demand situation of electricity is expected to be critical, the government will issue "alert for tighter electricity supply-demand balance" so as to quickly inform the public. The government also requests customers to understand the current tight situation and cooperate in the energy-saving effort.

For further details, see the Japanese language press release.

Release Date

July 1, 2014

Division in Charge

  • Office for Electricity Supply, Demand, Transmission, and Distribution Policy, Electricity Infrastructure Division, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy
  • Electric Power Safety Division, Distribution and Industrial Safety Policy Group, METI
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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